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Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, August 13, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesWHY ALL THE FOUR-WHEEL-DRIVE VEHICLES?

WHY ALL THE FOUR-WHEEL-DRIVE VEHICLES?

If there’s one thing teen-agers and twentysomethings know something about, it’s cars -– how much they cost, which ones are hot, that kind of thing.
So it was interesting to hear so many young Virgin Islanders who were home for the holidays this year scoff at the high cost of so many government vehicles.
Why, we were asked more than once, do so many V.I. government officials drive expensive -– and probably fully loaded — four-wheel-drive vehicles?
When we started looking around, we realized the questioners were right.
Why, indeed, does the director of the Office of Management and Budget need a costly four-wheel-drive vehicle? Or the Finance commissioner? Or the heads of other agencies whose work doesn’t require them to drive up and down unpaved, treacherous roads? Granted, a few of them may need vehicles like that in the 48 hours or so after a hurricane, but is it worth spending that much money on the off-chance that a bad storm will strike us?
These are the kinds of symbols that say something about a government’s commitment to belt-tightening.
Gov. Charles W. Turnbull has said he intends to cut the cost of the government vehicle fleet and curb vehicle abuse. To that we say hooray.
But as part of that exercise, we hope he’ll take a close look at who’s driving what and analyze the cost and use of the government fleet.
It’s time to determine whether it’s really essential for each official or department to have a particular government vehicle, how much could be saved by downgrading to dependable but less-costly models, and whether we should institute a mileage-reimbursement system instead of maintaining a government fleet that we can’t afford.

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If there’s one thing teen-agers and twentysomethings know something about, it’s cars -– how much they cost, which ones are hot, that kind of thing.
So it was interesting to hear so many young Virgin Islanders who were home for the holidays this year scoff at the high cost of so many government vehicles.
Why, we were asked more than once, do so many V.I. government officials drive expensive -– and probably fully loaded -- four-wheel-drive vehicles?
When we started looking around, we realized the questioners were right.
Why, indeed, does the director of the Office of Management and Budget need a costly four-wheel-drive vehicle? Or the Finance commissioner? Or the heads of other agencies whose work doesn’t require them to drive up and down unpaved, treacherous roads? Granted, a few of them may need vehicles like that in the 48 hours or so after a hurricane, but is it worth spending that much money on the off-chance that a bad storm will strike us?
These are the kinds of symbols that say something about a government’s commitment to belt-tightening.
Gov. Charles W. Turnbull has said he intends to cut the cost of the government vehicle fleet and curb vehicle abuse. To that we say hooray.
But as part of that exercise, we hope he’ll take a close look at who’s driving what and analyze the cost and use of the government fleet.
It’s time to determine whether it’s really essential for each official or department to have a particular government vehicle, how much could be saved by downgrading to dependable but less-costly models, and whether we should institute a mileage-reimbursement system instead of maintaining a government fleet that we can’t afford.