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Take-home vehicles pulled from Hagerstown council agenda

June 11, 2008|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN -- Discussion about city employees' use of take-home vehicles was pulled from the agenda at Tuesday's Hagerstown City Council work session at the request of Councilwoman Kelly S. Cromer, but that didn't stop council members from having a heated debate about the integrity of information provided about the issue.

Cromer asked before Tuesday's meeting that the discussion be pulled from the agenda because she had not received all of the information she requested, she said. The information she did receive included some discrepancies, she said.

"I don't trust any of the information," Cromer said.

According to information provided to the media before Tuesday's meeting, maintenance of take-home vehicles cost $79,991.16 in 2007, up from $58,348.63 in 2006. The amount includes the cost of preventative maintenance.

The utilities and police departments use a majority of the 48 take-home vehicles. Nineteen are used by the utilities departments and 18 are used by police.

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Utilities staff members commute an average of 21 miles a day, for a yearly commuting total of 90,570 miles and a yearly commuting fuel cost of $19,563.12.

Police commute an average of 16 miles a day, for a yearly commuting total of 65,447 miles and a yearly commuting fuel cost of $14,136.57.

A supervisor in the Water Department logged the most commuting miles, driving 76 miles a day for a yearly total of 17,100 miles and a cost of $3,693.60.

City Councilman Lewis C. Metzner wanted to see the discussion item back on the agenda as soon as possible, he said.

Cromer in May asked city staff for the addresses of the employees in the take-home vehicle program so she could quantify the city's fuel costs, The Herald-Mail reported.

Metzner said police officers are concerned about having their addresses given out.

City Councilwoman Alesia Parson-McBean said it was not OK to give out the addresses of those who don't want them given out, but she doesn't believe Cromer's investigation should be impeded, she said.

"She made this request, it's come, not to the highest standard," Parson-McBean said.

Metzner wondered what additional information Cromer required, other than the police chief saying he reviewed the addresses submitted by his officers.

"I hear you saying you don't trust police," Metzner said to Cromer.

Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said after Tuesday's meeting that the take-home vehicle discussion probably would not be on next week's agenda.

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