$4 MIILLION DOLLARS FOR CITY WORKERS TO DRIVE CARS HOME!

IS IT A PRACTICE THAT SHOULD CONTINUE?

The Insite put in a request to the city of Houston’s Finance department. I wanted to know just how much the city was spending annually to allow civilian (not police) employees to take home city owned vehicles. I was surprised to learn taxpayers dropped a cool $4 million for 2009 alone. It’s an issue Houston City Council members C.O. Braford and Jolanda Jones want to address as members of the city’s Public Safety committee. The information provided to the Insite indicates there are 902 take home vehicles. The number of miles driven by city workers in these cars come in at 10.6 million. Fuel cost is at $1.5 million, maintenance is another $1.4 million and the depreciation amount is at $1.2 million. Those records disclosed by the city also show the city vehicles swallowed 489,000 gallons of gas last year. At $4.2 million annually do you think the city should continue the practice of allowing employees to take cars home when city leaders are looking for ways to save money? The Insite also contacted Mayor Annise Parker’s office to get a response on these numbers. Her communications director Janice Evans released this statement:

“The departments with the most take home vehicles are those departments with large numbers of employees with inspection duties, requiring travel to numerous locations each work day. That said, however, we are continuously looking for savings and opportunities for eliminating abuse. Currently, the city is exploring GPS monitoring and so-called geo fences as ways to ensure we know where the vehicles are at all times. We are also looking at strategic assignment as a way to reduce the use of these vehicles and in the process cut costs.”

Mayor Annise Parker
City of Houston

(The city employee pictured is not necessarily a worker who takes home a car)