Committee Looks at City Staff's Vehicle Use
Tune up or overhaul: In some instances, committee asks, should mileage reimbursement take the place of city-owned vehicles?
To ensure current understandings don't become misunderstandings—and to see if they can save any money—Elmhurst city staff members are looking into formalizing guidelines for how employees use city-owned vehicles, the Finance, Council Affairs and Administrative Services Committee heard Monday.
Some city employees have vehicles assigned to them, and some periodically use cars or trucks from a general pool. Finance Director Marilyn Gaston said the goal of the review is to decide who needs vehicles the most.
“We know the positions that do take home vehicles. Should they?” she asked.
First Ward aldermen Paula Pezza and Diane Gutenkauf, and 3rd Ward Alderman Michael Bram requested a review of vehicle use.
Gaston told the committee that a survey was circulated to city staff asking how vehicles were used and how many miles they were driven. Public Safety and Public Works were the two departments that used city cars and trucks the most, but the Information Technology Department recently was assigned a vehicle, as well.
Standard practice thus far has been that whenever a vehicle needs to be replaced, its need is assessed, Gaston said. If staff believe a new car or truck needs to be added to a department, the issue becomes part of the budgeting process.
As part of their review, staff also have been collecting information on how employee vehicles are handled in other towns.
“It's from A to Z out there,” she said.
Currently, there are no written guidelines for assigning vehicles, but staff will draft some for the committee to consider. Seventh Ward Alderman Mark Mulliner stressed the need for any guidelines to be flexible, and Gaston agreed. Staff responsibilities evolve, she said, and it can't be assumed that a certain position will always need, or not need, a vehicle.
Some positions, such as the police and fire chiefs, always will have a vehicle assigned to it, committee members agreed.
Committee Chairman and 4th Ward Alderman Stephen Hipskind said data will drive the discussion, which, along with more formal guidelines, might also lead to some money-saving ideas, including reimbursing staff for mileage rather than purchasing city-owned vehicles.