Maricopa County Employees' Use of Vehicles to be Studied for Possible Cuts

A Maricopa County employee welfare program known as the "take-home vehicle" may be coming to an end.

Due to the economic crisis, the county is ordering the use of its 2,500 vehicles to be scrutinized with an eye toward saving money. One of the first things officials want to look at is whether to keep allowing some employees to drive their taxpayer-owned cars home overnight, according to a news release put out today by the county.

(Click here for an MS Word copy of the release).

Nobody will be immune from the study, supposedly:

As detailed by Deputy Budget Director Brian Hushek, all county departments, agencies, elected officials and judges will report on overnight use of county vehicles by county employees.

Despite the quip about welfare, we don't know if county employees are driving vehicles home overnight for no other reason than to save wear and tear on their own vehicles (not to mention the savings by using county fuel). Some legitimate reasons for take-home use must exist -- though none come readily to mind. Max Wilson, chairman of the Board of Supervisors, says he doesn't intend to jeopardize undercover law enforcement operations.

The county is also placing a moratorium on the routine replacement of vehicles -- previously, it sold them off after a certain number of miles or years.

You know, like a well-off person does.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.