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Legislative Audit Says Savings from Downsizing Kansas State Fleet are Overstated

February 17, 2004

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius may have overstated savings that will result from reducing the state's fleet of cars reports a legislative audit released Feb. 11, 2004, according to an article in the Topeka Eagle newspaper. The audit said Sebelius' actions, which include selling 729 vehicles, did not fully account for costs of future vehicle replacement, reimbursing employees for driving their own cars and paying for a rental-car agreement. "Actual savings will only occur if the state reduces the number of miles driven or the cost per mile driven in conducting state business. There's no way to know to what extent that will occur," the audit said. Sebelius had said earlier that the changes, which also include a moratorium on buying new cars, would free up about $9 million to be spent on other pressing needs. State Senate President Dave Kerr requested the 100-hour audit, a quicker version of the reviews normally done by the Legislative Division of Post Audit. State Sen. Anthony Hensley noted that a 1997 audit recommended actions similar to those Sebelius implemented. Former Gov. Bill Graves never implemented those recommendations, he said. Sebelius did away with the state's central motor pool, which handled cars checked out to agencies on a day-to-day basis and some cars permanently assigned to agencies. The state's larger agencies also have their own fleets. Fricke said the move will not result in higher costs to agencies managing their cars, as the audit suggested, because travel budgets and staffing were not increased. Before shutting down the motor pool, the administration negotiated a contract with Enterprise Rent-a-Car for short-term rentals by state workers. Enterprise's multiple locations around the state made cars more readily available than the central pool in Topeka, auditors said. In a one-month analysis, however, costs through Enterprise averaged 25 cents a mile compared with 23 cents through the motor pool, the audit said. Auditors cautioned that a longer time frame was needed for an adequate comparison of costs. The auditors said they could not determine whether Sebelius' actions in the long run would save the state money or cost taxpayers more.
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