Archive for the 'Media comment' Category

Council cars

July 25th, 2008

 This is the Media Release (below) in response to the Courier Mail article today. I now drive a Prius. If I didn’t drive a Council provided car then Council would have to reimburse me for my work related use of my own car. It was explained to me that this would end up costing more than a Council provided car does. I now have to reimburse Council for the private kilometres that I do in the Prius and keep a daily log book.

I am very aware of the attention that our cars are causing and I am concerned about the continued focus on them. The previous HBCC – CEO 4WD was sold for a profit. The deals done by Council (and most other large organisations who operate fleet vehicles) directly with car dealers, means that we purchase vehicles at rates not available to you and I individually. I personally worry about the cost of all of us driving around everywhere as now we are doing many more kilometres than we did previously, but unless someone can offer a solution, I believe our Council is headed down a path of responsible fleet management with an aim of reducing the size and number of vehicles. Council does need some 4WD vehicles as we need to be able to travel on Fraser Island to service our responsibilities there.

There are a number of inaccuracies in the Courier Mail article, 25/07/08, on the vehicle supplied to the Chief Executive Officer Andrew Brien.

 1: The vehicle is available for other staff to use. The Director of External Services, Ron Smith, who manages the fleet on behalf of Council said that the motor vehicle policy states very clearly that: all vehicles are made available for Council business.

 2: Under his employment package Mr Brien is entitled to a Holden Statesman Caprice or similar prestige style vehicle or as otherwise negotiated. The vehicle chosen for Mr Brien is a Toyota Prado Grande, said Mr Smith. This vehicle fits our fleet and operation needs as well as those of the CEO.

 3: The DVD player and other fittings were offered by the dealer, and are options on the vehicle. The motor vehicle policy provides details of other “non-standard” options that are fitted to a range of Council vehicles.

 4: Mr Brien salary sacrifices $22,000 a year for private use of this vehicle.

 5: Mr Brien was not stood down in October 2006 while two independent investigations were conducted and reinstated the next month. The Tiaro Council did suspend Mr Brien. Subsequently there was a CMC investigation into the Council’s actions, not Mr Brien. The CMC directed that the Council re-instate Mr Brien.

 6: Rates within the Fraser Coast regional Council have not risen an average of 10 percent and in some cases up to 13 percent as stated in the article. The rates rise was in fact an average of 7 percent.

 7: The Director of External Services, Ron Smith, manages the fleet on behalf of Council. Fleet is managed as a NCP compliant business activity. Vehicles are selected that provide the best financial return to Council while containing operating costs. The Council is mindful of rising operating costs and greenhouse gas emissions and is moving towards vehicles that achieve its operational needs while reducing fuel costs and emissions.

 8: The Director of External Services ordered the vehicle in March to replace the vehicle used by the interim CEO to take advantage of beneficial sales offers on the existing vehicle. It was to be passed to the new CEO, no matter who was appointed to the position.

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