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HomeNewsArchivesNo More Free Ride: deJongh Cracks Down on Government Vehicle Use

No More Free Ride: deJongh Cracks Down on Government Vehicle Use

July 23, 2007 — Though it's been promised before, this time a sticker system and a hotline number may be the ticket to enforcing restrictions on the use of government vehicles after hours.
In an executive order handed down from Government House Monday, Gov. John deJongh Jr. outlined the details of a new plan designed to reduce the number of government-owned vehicles seen on the territory's roads after regular business hours — including nights, weekends and holidays. The plan only grants unrestricted vehicle access to department and agency heads or other employees who have received authorization from the governor.
"Other employees will be limited to official use only, and vehicle assignments will be made only to employees whose job requires access to a vehicle," according to a news release attached to the executive order.
The previous administration tried to implement a similar policy. Former Gov. Charles W. Turnbull described it, in part, as a cost-cutting initiative that allowed only department and agency heads to use government vehicles after hours. However, government cars still continued to show up throughout the territory, frequently appearing on the road at all times of the day, night and weekends.
DeJongh's policy hinges on a specific sticker system, which will be monitored by the governor’s office and the Department of Property and Procurement, and enforced by the VIPD. However, residents can also call 715-5507 if they witness any violations or abuses of government vehicles. Any reports will be forwarded to the department or agency head to which the vehicle belongs, the news release said.
Violators of the policy — which went into effect on Monday — can face up to 30 days suspension without pay, or termination for repeat offenses.
In Monday's release, Police Commissioner James H. McCall said officers are ready to begin their new duties.
"Our officers will begin to crack down on those drivers who abuse the privilege of driving government vehicles,” McCall said. “Anyone on the road beyond the regular government workday must be authorized or they will be stopped.”
Government vehicles authorized for unrestricted use will be identified with a red registration sticker, which will be attached to the vehicle's windshield, the executive order says. Vehicles authorized for limited use on the weekends or after business hours will be marked by a green sticker, while the rest of the government's fleet — authorized for use during normal business hours — will be tagged with a white sticker.
The governor’s office will keep a list of the vehicles and their authorized use and forward it for enforcement to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Department of Property and Procurement and VIPD. The rosters will include the names of the employees authorized to use the vehicles.
"The government employees appearing on these rosters shall receive a written letter of authorization from their respective commissioners or agency heads to use the designated … vehicles for designated purposes after regular business hours, on weekends, and/or on holidays," the executive order says.
When the vehicles are not in use during the evenings or weekends, they will be parked at locations around the territory that have recently been identified by the Department of Property and Procurement.
"The high costs of fuel and maintenance, as well as the historical abuse that we have witnessed for years, makes it imperative that we take drastic steps towards reducing operating costs during the austere fiscal times facing the government,” deJongh said. “Implementation of this new vehicle policy is a significant step forward.”
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July 23, 2007 -- Though it's been promised before, this time a sticker system and a hotline number may be the ticket to enforcing restrictions on the use of government vehicles after hours.
In an executive order handed down from Government House Monday, Gov. John deJongh Jr. outlined the details of a new plan designed to reduce the number of government-owned vehicles seen on the territory's roads after regular business hours -- including nights, weekends and holidays. The plan only grants unrestricted vehicle access to department and agency heads or other employees who have received authorization from the governor.
"Other employees will be limited to official use only, and vehicle assignments will be made only to employees whose job requires access to a vehicle," according to a news release attached to the executive order.
The previous administration tried to implement a similar policy. Former Gov. Charles W. Turnbull described it, in part, as a cost-cutting initiative that allowed only department and agency heads to use government vehicles after hours. However, government cars still continued to show up throughout the territory, frequently appearing on the road at all times of the day, night and weekends.
DeJongh's policy hinges on a specific sticker system, which will be monitored by the governor’s office and the Department of Property and Procurement, and enforced by the VIPD. However, residents can also call 715-5507 if they witness any violations or abuses of government vehicles. Any reports will be forwarded to the department or agency head to which the vehicle belongs, the news release said.
Violators of the policy -- which went into effect on Monday -- can face up to 30 days suspension without pay, or termination for repeat offenses.
In Monday's release, Police Commissioner James H. McCall said officers are ready to begin their new duties.
"Our officers will begin to crack down on those drivers who abuse the privilege of driving government vehicles,” McCall said. “Anyone on the road beyond the regular government workday must be authorized or they will be stopped.”
Government vehicles authorized for unrestricted use will be identified with a red registration sticker, which will be attached to the vehicle's windshield, the executive order says. Vehicles authorized for limited use on the weekends or after business hours will be marked by a green sticker, while the rest of the government's fleet -- authorized for use during normal business hours -- will be tagged with a white sticker.
The governor’s office will keep a list of the vehicles and their authorized use and forward it for enforcement to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Department of Property and Procurement and VIPD. The rosters will include the names of the employees authorized to use the vehicles.
"The government employees appearing on these rosters shall receive a written letter of authorization from their respective commissioners or agency heads to use the designated ... vehicles for designated purposes after regular business hours, on weekends, and/or on holidays," the executive order says.
When the vehicles are not in use during the evenings or weekends, they will be parked at locations around the territory that have recently been identified by the Department of Property and Procurement.
"The high costs of fuel and maintenance, as well as the historical abuse that we have witnessed for years, makes it imperative that we take drastic steps towards reducing operating costs during the austere fiscal times facing the government,” deJongh said. “Implementation of this new vehicle policy is a significant step forward.”
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.