Three Pittsburgh City Council members used city-owned cars for weeks at a time this winter before criticizing Mayor Tom Murphy for allowing officials and administrators to take home city vehicles, according to an article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
newspaper. The article said that records allegedly show council members Jim Motznik and Twanda Carlisle kept city cars for weeks at a time — and also sought mileage reimbursements for the months they used those vehicles. Council President Gene Ricciardi allegedly kept a city car for 20 days this winter.The use of city-owned cars emerged as an issue last week during a council debate over Pittsburgh's financial crisis. Ricciardi criticized the mayor for permitting 85 employees to take home city vehicles even when they do not need them. Ricciardi maintains the city can generate "several hundred thousand dollars" by auctioning off nonessential vehicles. The city's policy for motor pool vehicles limits their use to no more than five consecutive days, and drivers are "encouraged" to put fuel in the vehicles at city-owned facilities. The policy does not specifically address the procedure for mileage reimbursements or driving-related expenses.