Officials Monitor Use Of State Motor Vehicle Fleet
Posted February 27, 2003 9:00 a.m. EST
RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina taxpayers spend more than $40 million a year to keep the state work force moving and when budgets get tight, state government is called upon to justify the use of its 8,500 passenger vehicles.
In an attempt to give taxpayers their money's worth, state motor fleet management buys smaller cars and alternative fuel vehicles. Instead of 90,000 miles, state vehicles are now supposed to run for 110,000 before they hit the surplus yard. Plus, officials want to make sure the cars are used the way they are intended.
John Massey, director of the state motor fleet, said taxpayers call (800) 266-2025 daily to complain about misuse.
"Using the vehicle to drop kids off at school. Using the vehicle to stop by the ABC store," he said. "If it's not official state business, you're treading on thin ice."
WRAL received a copy of the complaints from the past year. Some cases are substantiated while others are not. Most accuse state workers of speeding and reckless driving.
Supervisors revoked driving privileges when a worker was spotted engaged in an intimate physical act in a state van. Massey also recalls a college professor busted for taking a state car to Myrtle Beach on an alleged business trip.
"He took it upon himself to have the wisdom to put those two surfboards on top not expecting what the ramifications would be," he said.
Massey believes most workers respect the privilege of driving a state-owned and maintained vehicle, but he welcomes taxpayer input to make sure.