Bulova Initiates Audit of Fairfax County's Take Home Vehicle Policy and Procedures
April 1, 2009
“Fairfax County is committed to being responsible stewards of tax dollars,” said Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova. “That is why I have asked the Auditor to the Board of Supervisors to review and examine the County’s Vehicle Policy and all of our departments' adherence to it.”
Today, I met with Chief Mastin and Deputy County Executive Rob Stalzer in response to the recent concern over the policies and procedures for Fire and Rescue take home vehicles. I have asked them to look into the Department’s adherence to the policy, and reminded them of their responsibilities as careful stewards of tax payer dollars.
I would like to note that the County workforce consists of talented hard working individuals who are dedicated and outstanding in their service to the residents of the County. The men and women of FRD are well trained and on call 24 hours a day, many of them routinely put their own lives at risk for their fellow citizens.
A relatively small number of FRD employees are authorized to take vehicles home when they have specific emergency responsibilities that allow a take-home vehicle, when fully justified by operational requirements, and when specifically approved by the County Executive. These vehicles are necessary to maintain an operational level of staff and to ensure that senior and critical staff are available to respond to emergency fire and rescue incidents on a twenty-four hour basis. Last year there were 37 two alarm fires. These are emergencies that require a response from command staff who are permitted the take home vehicles.
In the summer of 2008 Chief Mastin re-evaluated the use of take-home vehicles by FRD staff and was able to eliminate vehicles from the fleet. This is a process that is undertaken each May. Each agency assesses its operational needs to determine if take home vehicles are required for any of its employees.
In light of the recent allegation of improprieties I have asked the Auditor to the Board to review our County Vehicle policy and adherence to it for all departments. This is a process that was previously undertaken and audited a few years ago and led to a reduction of 167 vehicles in the County fleet which saved the tax payers $3 million on purchasing and maintenance. We also established a Fleet Utilization Management Committee, in August of 2004, which undertakes an annual review of the take home vehicle policy. Members of the Board’s Audit Committee will provide information on the results of the review and audit as soon as information is available.