Every State Worker Doesn’t Deserve A State Car, Says NJ Lawmaker [POLL/AUDIO]
"As a state worker you're not necessarily entitled to a state car," says Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, who is sponsoring a bill that would have the State Treasurer establish procedures, guidelines, or standards for the replacement of State vehicles.
"I talk to people and they are frustrated when they see state cars that are perhaps not on state business at a local tavern or at a local shopping mall," explains Angelini. "When you look at the thousands of vehicles across the state fleet I know that we could do a better job in cutting back."
Under the measure, a State vehicle may be assigned to and used by an officer or employee of the State for the conduct of the official business of the State only if the head of the State department or agency for which the officer or employee performs services submits a request in writing to the State Treasurer for that assignment and use.
The State Treasurer may approve a request submitted only if the officer or employee is required to respond to emergency or urgent situations during times other than during the normal work hours of that officer or employee or if the assignment will result in the use of the vehicle for more than an average of 1,250 miles per month for the conduct of the official business of the State or such greater average number of miles per month as is necessary to ensure that the assignment and use pursuant to this subsection is cost effective for the State.
The bill says that one or more State cars may be assigned to a State department or agency and used by its officers or employees on a pool basis for the conduct of the official business of the State only if the head of the department or agency submits a request in writing to the State Treasurer for the assignment of each such vehicle.
The written request shall include the positions of the officers or employees who may use the vehicle; a description of the duties and responsibilities of those positions; an analysis substantiating the need for a vehicle, including an analysis of cost; the existence of other substantially similar positions for which a State vehicle was assigned to a department or agency and used by its officers or employees; the period of time for which the vehicle will be needed; and any other information the State Treasurer may require.
A State vehicle may be assigned to a department or agency for use by its officers and employees only if officers or employees will use the vehicle assigned for at least an average of 1,000 miles per month, in the aggregate, for the conduct of the official business of the State.
A log would have to be kept to record the reason for each trip, beginning and ending time and mileage for each trip, beginning and ending time and mileage for each stop within the course of a trip and comments denoting damage or other information. The State Treasurer shall develop a uniform vehicle log form. The officer or employee using a State vehicle shall be required to complete the vehicle log for each trip.
Each State car would have to be plainly marked with the phrase "State of New Jersey, For Official Use," with letters at least one inch in height and conspicuously placed on each side of the vehicle. Each State vehicle shall display a bumper sticker containing the vehicle abuse hotline telephone number through which complaints regarding potential misuse of a State vehicle can be submitted.
Angelini says the hotline number bumper stick, "Hopefully will give pause to the state worker that may decide that they want to take their state vehicle to the local tavern for a beer after work."
If an officer or employee who is assigned a State vehicle stores the vehicle at his home when not conducting the official business of the State, the officer or employee shall be required to reimburse the State for daily commuting costs as measured from the residence to the principal work location.
Under the bill, violators could be suspended, fired, fined and possibly criminally charged.
A spokesman for the State Treasurer says, "While we won't comment on this pending legislation, we share the sponsors' enthusiasm for making sure that State vehicles are assigned in way that's most cost effective to taxpayers. It's worth noting that Treasury's current regulations have been very successful in ensuring that the motor pool is operated efficiently and responsibly."