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Feeling political heat, PTC may downsize vehicle fleet

Peachtree City officials are exploring ways to downsize the city’s vehicle fleet, particularly in an effort to ditch gas-guzzlers in favor of more economical vehicles. The move comes after several critical letters to the editor in The Citizen and multiple emails to city officials.

City Manager Jim Pennington pointed to his own city vehicle, a Ford Explorer.

“Why does a city manager need an Explorer? I have no clue,” Pennington said.

There are also questions about why supervisors and superintendents are driving Ford F250s rather that F150s or Rangers, Pennington said.

“These are all issues we are looking at,” Pennington said, noting the review has taken some time but will include justification for the types of vehicles needed for each position.

Pennington said staff is preparing a proposal, and also is exploring other options such as selling decommissioned police cars instead of handing them down to other departments in the city.

“Those cars can bring in a significant amount of money,” Pennington told council in an informal briefing Thursday night.

The city is also studying a possible pilot project with a firm that would own and maintain the city’s vehicle fleet. Currently the city leases and maintains its entire fleet.

Pennington said that beyond the police department, there are very few employees who “take home” a city vehicle.

Pennington said the city has received a significant amount of emails from city residents asking about the city’s vehicle fleet. Nonetheless, the fleet has been one of his concerns since he first took the job, Pennington added.

“So we’re taking a real hard look at this, and there could be some changes that will be very significant and the city may take some huge vehicles and get rid of them, selling them,” Pennington said.

Once staff’s recommendation is ready, it will be brought to council for consideration, Pennington said.

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Comments

He doesn't know why he has a Ford Explorer and dept. heads have 250 Fords! And did you know that excess cars can be sold for bucks? He has been worried about it. Has he passed the PSAT test yet?
Does anyone know what the Chief of Poelice drives home? Where is he, by the way?
Are these people not allowed opinions in public, or private?

Does the Chief of Fire drive a ladder truck home? Inquiring minds!

It will take a year or two to investigate and check the politics for each vehicle. (sounds like a one day job for managers.)

Shows to go you what happens when nobody cares! Good old boys and gals!

We need "fireballs" in charge--but for one term only--Hired help, five years and reviewed by disinterested people.

this gob of cars/trucks in his detailed budget analysis? Maybe these vehicles are not included on the city's Excel sheets and are hid out in the woods under camo tarps in the woods in Brooks and the Inman community! Why wasn't this looked at back when the 27 grass cutters/deer carcass picker-uppers were getting the ax? PTC has nearly 100 miles of cart paths going almost anywhere you want to go--why don't city officials drive carts/bikes instead of Ford 250s? They can pick up trash with those grabber things along the way! City staffers need need to pedal on exercise bikes wired to rechargeable batteries to generate power for the buildings where they work! Pennington should turn in his Explorer as a gesture of goodwill to the citizens and shame others into doing the same--police and fire chiefs included! Let's start a drive your own car to work campaign! Target needs to hire its own security guards!

What will the Falcons do about a 3rd quarterback? Do they even need one? Looks like they are using that roster spot for an extra running back!

Will Tommy Hanson be ready to go in the playoffs? How about Jair? D-Lowe and Huddy look ready!

Eric Imker did catch this issue!
He's been on it for months, long before Haddix.

That's why some of us are posting about it for the last 60 days!

only knew the garbage and lies that are being fed you and others on here, you would take up knitting as a hobby, not blogging.

I fully expect garbage and lies to be feed to me here! I can't knit property due to missing fingers from sword play! I only need one to hunt and peck for blogging!

However, no one has every come up with a good answer as to why there is no proper store in Brooks! Are there no Scots Irish entrepreneurs there looking to meet demand?

Braves losing 9-0 to the Phils! Yikes!

BHH's picture

I lived in the county for 24 years and only accidentally rode through Brooks one time until I bought a house here last year.

Brooks is the most elusive city in the south and that is why no one will open a store here.

Besides we have everything we need within 15 minutes ride in any direction we choose.

pyramidman

Do you suppose that a combined country store, conveniencve store, starship, we buy gold, nail shop, salon, hamburgers and milkshakes, candy, and personal items store could make it in Brooks? Maybe some horse feed and fertilizer.

BHH's picture

It would overtax the infrastructure and just create a larger vacant commercial building in town after the proprietors go bonkers from boredom.

pyramidman

to a new place I make it a point to scout out all the cities, towns, communities, hamlets, nooks/crannies, and other areas to see where the Scots Irish might be ensconced! Plus, there was a youth football game out there that required my presence! Couldn't even find a cold Powerade for sale anywhere! What kind of small town doesn't even have a country store! Better off selling it to Spalding County!

Braves take it on the chin! Blimey!

BHH's picture

I thought surely I could get a hotdog & Coke at the ball park from a concession stand but there was no concessions to be found.

Hey, there's a job for someone.

That's why Brooks remains so elusive.

We don't really want any more traffic in town than the infrastructure can support.

pyramidman

a small store selling a couple of Powerades and Cokes will attract hordes of people from Alpharetta! I just think it is curious that there is not even a small country store run by some old guy that has been around for about 100 years! Ya'll do have some nice trees out there though! When does horse bow-hunting season open?

Will D-Lowe be in the playoff starting rotation? Looks iffy to me at this point!

BHH's picture

an operating concession stand during sporting events would be reasonable to expect.

pyramidman

Where has the Scots Irish volunteerism gone! They volunteered to fight the whole civil war--they can't muster up a few to sell hot dogs and cokes! Plus, they are missing out on revenue for the league--lost opportunity profits!

Are the Falcons missing any components now? The Bears (Chicago) game will tell I reckon!

Don Haddix's picture

Credit where credit is due. Jim Pennington got that ball rolling.

Council agreed we needed a top to bottom review of everything when he came on board. That is what he is doing.

Neither Imker nor I can take credit on this one. All I asked for was a list when it was completed.

As for long before, nope, some of us were asking such questions back in 2008. This is a re-look at an old question with fresh eyes expecting better answers than before.

Even then, it will not be a reinvention of the wheel, but a fine tuning.

So, thank the City Manager on this one.

Not sure where you are getting your insider information from, but I suggest you find another source. It is usually incorrect.

<cite><strong>Don Haddix
Peachtree City Mayor</strong></cite>

...............If anyone looked at a budget properly they would know we had too many vehicles.
It is too late now to make any significant money---that was when they should not have been bought---and even if they sell 20-30 and scrap another 10-20, they may get a few thousand out of it.

Sell 10-20 now! No use wasting people's valuable time on a simple project. Listening to too many people who have plans!

Take them to the auction block now. Do they HAVE TO go through that stupid advertising thing?

Don Haddix's picture

Yes. All has to be advertised and bid, from contracts to items for sale. Federal and State Laws apply in all such issues.

On the rest, let us see what the final report comes back saying.

<cite><strong>Don Haddix
Peachtree City Mayor</strong></cite>

But I suppose the law must say that the cars can be used by any employee the city says can have one? Also, that dump trucks maybe can be bought to haul shrubs around?
And that some employees can get one that is retired and worn out so the city can maintain it?

Is the rule that the higher on the salary pole a person is, the bigger and more abundant the vehicle must be for show?

Do they also have to sparkle all of the time (Hired done of course)?

Another of those "it happens, so let it get worse."

fleet of vehicles seems like a winning proposition!

I think commissioner Hearn or one of his family/church members might even be engaged in such a business!

I say again that Pennington should turn in his Explorer and drive his own car to work, or better yet golf cart. Same for the two chiefs and other higher ups that have city cars! Patrol cops should walk to work to save vehicle wear and tear and to improve fitness for chasing down robbers!

BTW, good call on getting staff out of the admin building and out into the field! I know you were out front on that one!

Can we lease out the library to Books-A-Million? I have never found much to read in there, especially in the Asian language section! No good coffee either!

Can we trade in one of the city cars for a deer carcass grinding machine? The resulting deer burgers could be sold at the Shakerag Festival for a tidy profit!

How's Joey doing?

UGA looked rough on Saturday night. I say Richt is a dead man walking!

Libraries are the first to go with scarce money. We want our kids to be dumb.

As to Georgia football, it is my opinion that maybe since Richt has converted to fundamental religious practices that he no longer wants to scholarship 700 SAT football players and overlook their sports cars!

If that is the case, let him be!

First, Books-A-Million has plenty of books and good coffee. The PTC library has neither! Any good book that comes in you have to get on a waiting list! Hardbound and paperback books are a thing of the past anyway! It's all going digital! Just provide a nice place for people to sit and enjoy their coffee and electronics! Maybe have some classes for those that want to learn!

As for UGA, I think you are right in that Richt is now more concerned with getting his players to heaven than to the BCS championship game! BCS champion players and coaches go straight to heaven anyway, at least those on SEC teams, so Richt is off course on football and religion!

Peter King picks Falcons to win Superbowl over San Diego!

NUK_1's picture

Glad Pennington got on this despite the fact your post from 3 days ago totally dismisses anything to do with city vehicles.

[quote]
We did a workshop on the last Council covering all of Mr. Christian's suggestions. They do not save us money or enhance city services.

As for the idea of using smaller vehicles, that was covered as well. You cannot get the equipment into smaller than currently purchased.

No, I do not get such a vehicle, I use my own car as do all Council Members.

The point here is that all this points brought up none of it is new and has been thoroughly investigated, more than once, always arriving at the same final conclusion. We do not need to be reinventing the wheel on this issue yet again. Jumping to a conclusion before finding out the facts benefits no one.
[/quote]

Don Haddix's picture

Mr. Christian's letter is what I responded to.

PD cars will not go down in size. The equipment will not fit.

The take home policy was not put on the table by the City Manager.

Ten additional vehicles were not in the Budget, contrary to what Mr. Christian said. It was ten replacement vehicles.

What is on the table is reviewing the replacement policy and sizes of some non PD vehicles as used daily. Whole other issue.

I never did understand why the prior City Manager wanted an SUV or got one. Before my time on Council. A car is fine.

As for employees using their own vehicles, that would mean when doing City business they get $.55 per mile driven. As well it is cheaper for us to provide used vehicles to contract employees rather than an allowance per year or higher pay.

Public/Private is something I have been pushing for 4 years now. If there is cost savings in doing that as well, great.

<cite><strong>Don Haddix
Peachtree City Mayor</strong></cite>

NUK_1's picture

Paying employees .55 mile is not cost-effective and along with that goes liability issues. I don't think there is an argument for throwing out the entire take home vehicle policy, but looking at it again and modifying it seems like a really good idea.

The idea of leasing the whole fleet is the kind of thinking I like to see too. It may turn out that the numbers simply don't work but it's definitely worth exploring. One of the best decisions made in PTC in recent years was the agreement with Canongate on the Tennis Center and I give you credit for pushing that.

Don Haddix's picture

I believe you know I am willing to look at anything until it proves a mistake.

Change comes hard. It took about 1.5 years on the Tennis Center and about a year for the first change on the Fred and another year for the second.

There are other changes of that type I am pushing but so far the old 3-2 has stopped just doing the research.

We will see where the next Council Majority stands on that type thinking.

We have to make it cheaper on the Budget, cut services and/or keep raising taxes. Taxes and burning up the Reserves is not a solution.

I don't want to think out of the box. I want to do away with the box.

Also need jobs. Just look at the declining school population.

<cite><strong>Don Haddix
Peachtree City Mayor</strong></cite>

Citizen_Steve's picture

Mayor, both you and Imker have contended the budget is as lean as it could be, however CarGate plainly shows that you're either blind to waste or are not genuinely representing the budget situation. You have some nerve to suggest taking more of our money while the city is clearly not practicing responsible stewardship.

What reforms have you proposed that council has blocked?

Steve

Why is it necessary to have "contracts" in the first place?

And, why would the current contracts say that they get a free car to use?

Most industry now is converting to the use of one's own auto and then justifying the miles used on business, on an expense report.

Frankly, most salaries of contract employees is high enough to not worry about their auto.

Also, a couple of staff cars (40 MPG) could be available at work.

I think that these "contract" things are a racket rigged by networks of places to list jobs but they "all" demand cars, houses, expenses, etc.
in addition to a huge salary. And a year's pay or more if fired or contract not renewed.
Look at the APS system!~!!!
Also, they don;t hire anyone who won't take their orders as to methods of operation (such as passing everyone whatever it takes) before hiring.

Now that you do have to pay for! Big time.

Is it a law that the city has to pay 55 Cent per mile to employees using their cars for city business? Or, is this just existing policy? Seems that with an unemployment rate of around 10% and projected to last for a decade or so, you could find people willing to work and drive their own cars for free! I used to drive 90 miles a day round trip to work and back in my own car and got zilch!

C'mon Dawgs, Take Down SC!

NUK_1's picture

Traveling to and from work is excluded from reimbursement. That's an IRS regulation at least.

travel to an from work is excluded per IRS regs. The Fiddy Five Cent (no relation to Fiddy Cent) figure is also per IRS! If there is driving to be done at work, let them use their own and take the Fiddy Five Cent deduction on their own taxes!

Braves in Rain Delay!

Well, let's get some outside-the-box thinking going and reinvent the wheel in a different, less costly, and more effective way! The present model of buying/maintaining gas guzzlers has been around since about 1950! Sixty or so years is probably enough time to come up with a new way!

Dr. Pennington! Please turn in your city vehicle as a gesture of new things to come, and to shame the police chief and fire chief into doing the same! We are a golf cart community not a Ford F250 community, except for Brooks, which should be sold/given away to Spalding county! F250s don't even fit on the cart paths! I know, I tried once on that hill coming down from Wendys! Got stuck on that tight S-turn right before tunnel!

Let's re-purpose the library and make it into something useful! Community education classes! Study foreign languages, website design, flower arranging, pottery, fencing (not the barbed wire kind either), CPR, yoga, nuclear plant maintenance, and other such skills!

Heard a funny shot at the UGA defense this AM on AM! Call in fan: How long does it take to implement the 3-2 defense? Real sports fans will understand!

What kind of "Dr." is Mr. Pennington? From where?

Docterate in Education (Organizational Leadership) from Nova SE Univ

AHG knows it all! I think Dr. Pennington also gives free flu shots from the back of his Expedition on Tuesday mornings!

City Officials--Drive your own car for work! Free Fifty-Five Cent!

Mayor Haddix:

Once again this is another indicator for you to stop playing politics and focus on the job you were hired to do.

You have been the mayor for close to 2 years and prior to that you were on city council. Since you joined city government you have spent most of your time fighting with council members, commission members, county government officials, other city mayors and citizens, etc.

As an ex-business owner you should have been able to look over this budget and identify that we had too many cars. Instead it was found by the new city manager who has been in office less than 6 months.

It's time for you to stop playing games, having temper tantrums and writing nasty editorials when you do not get your way.

Time to change your approach and make city government work. Since you have held office our city government has been broken and you are responsible. Be a mayor, not a politican!

Also, next time you attack a Peachtree City resident for voicing an opinion, before you write something nasty or condescending, remember that this person is one of your bosses. A good example is Mr. Christian who wrote an editorial about the auto policy. Yes, you work for him and he deserved better, in fact he deserved a "thank you"for his input followed by an explanation ending with "it will be reviewed, thank you".

It shows that an active and engaged citizenry can bring change.

Some of us personally like the fact that the city allows the police to take the vehicles home. I would bet that it helps deter crime in any neigborhood that has a police car sitting in the driveway of someones home.

I am pretty sure that the police / city administrators can show that crime is less prevelant in neighborhoods where our local police reside.

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