CONCORD (AP) — New Hampshire does a poor job keeping track of the nearly 2,000 passenger vehicles used by state employees, according to a recent audit.
There is no formal statewide monitoring of the vehicles, nor is there any statewide agency in charge of requisitioning, maintaining or disposing of cars. Some departments have written policies and fleet managers; some do not. Instead, each department makes decisions for itself, leading to a dearth of quality data and poor use of resources, the audit found. While some employees are reimbursed hefty sums for using their own cars, many cars go underused.
“Decentralization has resulted in 33 systems recording fleet data; lack of standardized policies and procedures; lack of statewide passenger fleet-related cost data; inconsistent data reporting; inaccurate and incomplete data; barriers to sharing state resources and disparate levels of fleet resources and expertise across state agencies,” concluded the audit by the Legislative Budget Assistant.
The auditors recommended that lawmakers create a fleet manager position, centralize fleet management , establish uniform policies for vehicle requests, maintenance and use and implement a fleet management plan. They also urged the state to reassign some underused cars and take a close look at those employees who commute to work in state-owned cars.
The audit found 156 vehicles assigned to non-law enforcement individuals on a 24-hour-a-day basis. Most of those permanently assigned vehicles failed to receive proper approval from the governor and Executive Council.
Responding to the audit, Administrative Services Commissioner Linda Hodgdon said that her department agrees with most of the recommendations only in part, because she believes that current laws don’t give it enough authority to overhaul such policies, or “there are simply no available staff to implement the suggested program changes.”
“I have grave concern that one individual will be assigned to be a fleet manager with no program staff to assist him or her and then an expectation that the full complement of work will be done,” she wrote.