WRAL Investigates

State leaders upset with management of state-owned cars

Posted December 14, 2010

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— Gov. Beverly Perdue and incoming House Speaker Thom Tillis expressed frustration this week with the slow pace of change in how state agencies manage the cost of state-owned vehicles.

Agencies lease vehicles from the state Motor Fleet Management Division. By law, the division charges for a monthly minimum of 1,050 miles per car and more for each mile over that. The cost covers maintenance, insurance and gas.

However, if cars travel fewer than 1,050 miles a month, agencies must still pay the flat rate.

A 2009 WRAL News investigation found that the Department of Correction paid for one car that sat idle for five straight months and other agencies also paid for vehicles that were underutilized.

The series of reports prompted Perdue to call for changes, and a panel she appointed to root out waste in state government even reviewed Motor Fleet Management operations.

Yet, a year later, departments are still paying millions of dollars for unused miles.

"I'm not happy with any of this," Perdue said Monday. "It boggles the mind that people can't come up with solutions that make common sense, that get the job done. That's what I've instructed, and I hope they understand that."

Agencies have appointed vehicle coordinators to better monitor vehicle use, and Motor Fleet Management has set up an online calculator to guide agencies on whether a state lease, a private lease or a personal vehicle is the most efficient way to travel.

Various agencies argue that they need vehicles for fewer than 1,050 miles a month. The DOC, for example, has filed for 2,000 exemptions from the mileage requirement.

"That makes no sense to me. If you have 2,000 exemptions, perhaps you shouldn't have an exemption category that applies," Perdue said.

State-owned car State agencies keep paying for parked vehicles

With the state facing a projected $3.7 billion deficit, Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, said Tuesday that lawmakers would consider changing the minimum mileage formula and search for any way to reduce travel costs.

"We have to pick up every crumb everywhere that it exists to try and get this problem solved," he said. "Anything and everything is on the table. When we said that, we meant it."

Speros Fleggas, deputy secretary of the state Department of Administration, which oversees the motor fleet, said it's too early to see improvements from the changes that were implemented several months ago.

Perdue said she wants more accountability in the use of state-owned vehicles and believes that changes will help.

"It may not all be perfect, but I do know that they're on the right path to having it solved," she said.

Contact the WRAL Investigates team

54 Comments

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  • sdrawkcab Dec 16, 2010

    ratherbnwpb.....why don't you go to wpb? I think I have read some of you post on other sites. You always have an answer for everything.

  • sdrawkcab Dec 16, 2010

    hedgy_one.....sorry to cut you off. I was trying to get out of your way. You were swerving all over your lane and speeding up and slowing down......I think you were doing something with your phone????? texting maybe. There is a law about that you-know??????

  • ratherbnwpb Dec 16, 2010

    rather.......

    if the department of admin policy is to charge for only that which is used and not much is being used, then who gets to absorb the cost of idle resources........

    duhhhhhh..........the taxpayers...........
    ncwiseguy

    Well oh wise one! If it is idle and not being used, then an already paid for state car purchased at a discounted fleet price
    is not being driven then thats saving money right? If they arent being used at all, then the agency should turn them in. In that case they will only sit some more or be sold as surplus.
    The consensus is that each agency should own their vehicle and get the Dept of Administration out of the leasing business just to add to their budget.

  • dwr1964 Dec 16, 2010

    So when I have a trip from raleigh to boone, and a meeting that lasts for 4 hours I should not be allowed to grab something to eat on my way?......regina1bean

    Not saying you can't eat, but you folks who drive state cars have a way of driving however you want. Ya know, big heads and all. Think you have the right of way all the time.

  • ncwiseguy Dec 15, 2010

    rather.......

    if the department of admin policy is to charge for only that which is used and not much is being used, then who gets to absorb the cost of idle resources........

    duhhhhhh..........the taxpayers...........

  • Sherlock Dec 15, 2010

    Why are they getting upset now, this has been going on fo ryears. We you get find with your pants down in winter it get very cold. Nothing is going to change. "Perdue said she wants more accountability in the use of state-owned vehicles and believes that changes will help." That should start at the top.

  • josephlawrence43 Dec 15, 2010

    "I'm not happy with any of this"--Gov. B.B Perdue. Well, bless my little soul, tsk, tsk, tsk, Whatever are we going to do Mr. Rhett??? Lets hold our breath until our faces turn red--then stomp our little feet two times and maybe all this will go away. And for the people of North Carolina--nothing will change.

  • Goodone2 Dec 15, 2010

    Hey hedgy one....Im sorry, are we state employees not allowed to eat now? So all you think they can do is drive from one place to another? So when I have a trip from raleigh to boone, and a meeting that lasts for 4 hours I should not be allowed to grab something to eat on my way? Thanks! I will remember that! Oh esp since I am 7 months preg.

  • wasone Dec 15, 2010

    Here's one to mull over.... I have been ask weekly to drive a vehicle home(over 65 miles)because if the not driven the required monthly miles the car/truck could be taken from the person for NOT utilizing the vehicle. These are Not leased vehicles but vehicles owned by the state which are later sold at the state auction in raleigh. This has be going on for years and will NOT be stopped by the current administration.

  • hedgy_one Dec 15, 2010

    A State Owned vehicle almost hit me this morning on Western Blvd (in Raleigh) as it cut across my lane to get to Bojangles! License #PL0903!!!!!!

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