Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Audit of City Vehicle Fleet Finds Service Costs Rising

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Audit of City Vehicle Fleet Finds Service Costs Rising

Article excerpt

Unexpected maintenance costs are up and service turnaround time is often substandard for Pittsburgh's fleet of about 1,100 vehicles - but departments also need to get their vehicles in more regularly for maintenance, city Controller Michael Lamb said.

Since the last audit of Cincinnati-based First Vehicle Services in 2010, non-targeted costs "greatly increased" during the period of the review, 2013 and 2014, according to the performance audit of vehicle fleet management and maintenance, which was released by Mr. Lamb's office Monday and is available online.

Non-targeted expenses were $1.4 million greater than the allotted $8.5 million during a five-year contract period.

Operational damage was the biggest expense among non-targeted costs in both years, according to the report. The audit says operational damage "occurs by designed day-to-day operations" and could include such things as damage to a police cruiser during a high-speed chase. Other non-targeted costs include abuse, natural causes, theft and vandalism to the fleet, which includes boats, trailers and rafts.

The audit did not specify how many crashes or incidents occurred but noted that First Vehicle completed 17,977 work orders in 2013 and 18,624 in 2014.

Safety and operational training could help bring down non-targeted costs, Mr. Lamb said. He also noted that the fleet reviewed in the audit is about five years older, on average, compared with the age of the fleet in a previous audit, which also would contribute to the increased costs.

The audit also found that vehicles in priority departments - EMS, police and fire - often didn't come out of the shop in the expected 24- or 48-hour window and recommended alternate penalties and rewards in the next contract for meeting those deadlines.

But in its formal response to the audit, First Vehicle said turnaround times depend most on the age of the vehicle and its being turned in on time. …

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