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Hagerstown eyes plan to cut number of take-home vehicles

August 05, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- The City of Hagerstown has drafted a preliminary plan to reduce the number of municipal employees who are permitted to drive city-owned vehicles to and from work.

The Hagerstown City Council is to discuss the proposal Tuesday during a work session. If the council agrees to adopt the plan, it would become effective after one year.

The preliminary proposal would allow employees to continue driving city-owned vehicles if they are "police and fire employees who routinely respond from their homes for either emergency calls or to support public safety operations" and "employees who, as part of their normal job responsibilities, are expected to routinely respond from their homes for either city emergency operations or to support city operations after normal business hours."

A list of those employees was unavailable.

The plan would require employees who commute more than 50 miles to work each day to reimburse the city 20 cents for each mile that exceeds the 50-mile limit.

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Councilwoman Kelly S. Cromer spoke against the city's existing take-home vehicle policy during a City Council work session in May. She said the policy was costing the city too much money given rising gas prices.

Documents show 48 municipal employees drive take-home vehicles.

As a result of Cromer's inquiry, the council directed a nine-member committee of city employees -- three of whom drive city-owned vehicles -- to study the issue and revise the policy.

Cromer could not be reached Monday for comment.

Councilwoman Penny M. Nigh, whose request that the city staff examine the take-home vehicle policy went unheeded a few years ago, said the city shouldn't wait a year to take back some of the vehicles if the council adopts a new policy.

"If we made a policy, why shouldn't it start now?" she asked.

Nigh said it doesn't matter whether three of the nine people who were assigned to draft the policy drive take-home vehicles because "the council will figure out whether those vehicles should be taken home."

During Tuesday's work session, City Finance Director Alfred Martin is to discuss the amount of money that could be saved by limiting the take-home vehicle policy.




The following City of Hagerstown employees were assigned to revise the city's take-home vehicle policy:

Human Resources Director Donna Messina

Fire Chief Gary Hawbaker*

City Clerk Donna Spickler

Director of Code Administration John Lestitian

Police Capt. Jack Moulton*

Finance Director Alfred Martin

Public Works Manager Eric Deike*

Utilities Director Mike Spiker

Safety/Loss Control Coordinator Kevin DeHaven

*-has a take-home vehicle

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