State audit cites too many state vehicles, sees $21 million savings

Friday, November 19th 2004, 6:29 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ State government owns too many vehicles and selling some of them and making other changes could lead to $21 million in savings, a state audit said Thursday.

Jeff McMahan, state auditor and inspector, said there is a lack of oversight on purchasing and selling vehicles and lax regulation on such things as maintenance and who should drive cars from their jobs to home.

``This is unacceptable and our citizens deserve better,'' McMahan said.

The audit cited instances where some vehicles regularly get $50 to $100-plus car washes and detail work.

McMahan said there seems to be no justification for agencies owning 233 gas-guzzling sports utility vehicles, where less expensive cars can be purchased.

Gov. Brad Henry, who asked for the audit last December, said the audit's findings confirm his concern about waste and inefficiencies.

``In the weeks to come, I will be working to reform administration of the vehicle fleet and cut unnecessary costs related to it,'' Henry said. ``State government owes it to taxpayers to use its resources wisely and clearly it can do a better job when it comes to the management and use of state vehicles.''

The audit located 6,814 state-owned passenger vehicles, of which auditors estimated that more than 1,000 were not justified.

The biggest savings _ $15.9 million over seven years _ would come from selling and not replacing some of those vehicles.

An estimated 1,400 vehicles are under utilized, driven less than 9,000 miles a year, the report said.

Auditors guess that $2.4 million in immediate savings could be accomplished through more efficient use of vehicles.

The audit said there is a lack of oversight by the Department of Central Services, which operates the state motor pool and is charged by law of keep track of vehicles individual agencies are authorized to purchase.

McMahan conceded, however, that the DCS lacks the centralized software for tracking vehicles and the authority to punish agencies that do not comply with regulations.

Pam Warren, director, said the DCS concurs with the majority of the concerns and recommendations in the audit, but lacks the authority to act without additional legislation.

McMahan said it is clear that agencies have too many vehicles and their use could not be justified in many instances.

``I'm concerned about some of the problems we've found,'' he said. ``Whatever it takes to clean it up, that's what needs to happen.''