Press-Republican

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December 28, 2013

Essex County questions vehicle usage

ELIZABETHTOWN — Essex County lawmakers are looking into saving money by allowing fewer workers to take vehicles home at night.

Several county departments — the Department of Public Works, Sheriff’s Department, Emergency Services, Public Health and others — allow supervisory personnel to take cars home on the chance they could be called out to handle emergencies.

The inquiry into who takes a vehicle home started at a recent County Board of Supervisors meeting, when Supervisor William Ferebee (R-Keene) moved to restrict seven foremen in the Department of Public Works from taking trucks home.

‘NEED MORE INFO’

There have been 70 callouts of the foremen this year, Department of Public Works Superintendent Anthony LaVigne said at the recent session.

No dollar amount was attached to the practice.

“Signs down, trees down, things like that” are the reasons for the callouts, LaVigne said.

He and his deputy superintendent also take vehicles home, but Ferebee’s resolution wouldn’t have affected that.

After discussion, he withdrew the resolution so they can get more information on the practice.

‘DIDN’T COME UP’

Supervisor Randy Preston (I-Wilmington) said he wishes issues like vehicle usage had been raised at County Budget Subcommittee meetings he attended.

The subcommittee, headed by Supervisor David Blades (R-Lewis), came up with a list of recommendations to save about $100,000. Some were acted on, while others were not.

“I sat on the Budget Committee for seven months,” Preston said. “I hope it wasn’t just coffee hour with Mr. Blades. All these things should be hashed out starting in August.”

Preston said there were important expenditures “the budget committee never heard about.”

In regard to the latest issue, the Board of Supervisors has asked each department for a list of its vehicles and who is authorized to take one home at night.

Discussion on the practice is planned for a future session.

Email Lohr McKinstry:lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com

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