JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi needs to adopt guidelines that
limit how many new vehicles agencies buy each year, a state
auditor's report says.
The report found that Mississippi averages one state-owned
vehicle for every three or four employees.
Currently, there are 9,366 state-owned vehicles at a combined
value of almost $222 million. Of those vehicles, 1,609 are being
used by the Institutions of Higher Learning, which includes the
state's eight public universities.
"Right now, the agencies are not limited to the number they can
have on inventory," said Lisa Shoemaker, director of
communications for state Auditor Stacey Pickering. "If an agency
decided to purchase 20 new vehicles, it could do that, even if they
weren't really needed."
In its latest report, the auditor's office studied the work of
the new Bureau of Fleet Management, which was set up in 2006 to
implement a statewide system to manage all state-owned vehicles.
"Come to find out, IHL accounts for 17 percent of the state
vehicles, but they're not mandated to participate," Shoemaker
said. "They're their own state government."
The auditor's office is recommending IHL either fall under the
bureau's system or create a similar system of its own.
"All universities would benefit from a coordinated effort of
fleet management by increasing the opportunity to reduce purchase
and usage costs. Such systems are even more critical in this time
of increasing fuel and production costs," the report said.
IHL officials say they have their own system to track vehicles.
"IHL also serves in an oversight capacity within fleet
management across the system," said Annie Mitchell, director of
media relations for IHL. "To that end, IHL maintains copies of
each of the institution's current policies and procedures for fleet
management. We also request a summary of the vehicles purchased
and/or leased, as well as the associated maintenance and fuel costs
Other state agencies also have hundreds of vehicles worth
millions of dollars:
- The Department of Transportation with 2,547 at a cost of $78
- The Department of Public Safety with 910 at a cost of $19.2
- The Department of Corrections with 674 at a cost of $11.5
- The Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks with 609 at a
cost of $10.9 million;
- The Forestry Commission with 493 vehicles at a cost of $14.3
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)