Managing State Vehicle Fleet

Most West Virginians already understand the entrenched bureaucrats in Charleston — and the elected officials who should be keeping an eye on them –have no interest in making the necessary changes to state government that would cut it and its spending so they can serve the state without bankrupting it.

For those still uncertain of that, a particularly stark example presented itself last week, when the Legislature’s Post Audit Division announced some disturbing numbers about the much-mentioned fleet of state vehicles.

After two years of talk in which fleet vehicles were an easy target, and politicians spoke ad nauseum about saving immense amounts of money by reducing the number of vehicles deployed — and insured — there has been so little attention paid to the vehicles themselves that the Fleet Management Office had mileage data for only half the state government’s 3,720 vehicles last year while almost half of the others were under-utilized.

Auditors say 42 percent of cars and trucks that had mileage data did not meet the minimum monthly use requirement. Half of those were short on their mileage requirements by 5,000 miles or more for the year. The Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety was the biggest offender, with 515 of its 1,435 vehicles underused.

Again, this information is available only for fleet vehicles in departments that were using the office’s maintenance and management contractor. There is no data available to auditors for the rest.

If politicians and the bureaucrats pushing their buttons have done so little to tackle the problem about which they were making so much noise, why on earth should Mountain State voters believe they are doing any work to tackle the problems about which they have been relatively quiet — you know, the tough ones?