State vehicle policies come under scrutiny

Given a $3.7 billion budget, it may seem like nibbling around the edges, but Sen. Billy Thames, D-Mize, says he will ask his fellow legislators to get fired up about use – and abuse – of state vehicle policies.

“We’re still gathering information,” Thames said last week. “but I am definitely in favor of adding accountability there.”

Thames, a 25-year lawmaker, chairs the Fees, Salaries and Administration Committee. It’s in that role he’s been receiving information from State Auditor Phil Bryant and from the state Department of Finance and Administration.
In sum, the information shows Mississippi taxpayers have bought and support the operation of 9,335 cars, trucks, SUVs, buses, motorcycles and motor homes valued at about $200 million. That calculates to one vehicle per five employees, including community college and university faculty and staff. It’s also up by 700 vehicles in the past three years while the total number of state employees has dropped.

Charlie Mitchell
Clarion Ledger Editorial Page
8/7/5