A few weeks after township committee members , Deputy Mayor Anthony Minniti is calling for a more comprehensive policy regarding township-issued vehicles.
At Monday’s , Minniti called for a more “coherent policy to whom and under what circumstances do we allow individuals to take a vehicle home.”
Currently, there are six township employees who are allowed to take their issued vehicles home—three police detectives, one police lieutenant, the director of public works and the zoning officer.
All are 24/7 responders, except for the township’s zoning officer.
Last year, township committee enacted a policy that those township employees who use a car are only allowed to take it to and from work if they live in a 10-mile radius. All the above six do.
They for Public Safety Director Michael P. King when they voted to allow him to take his township-issued car home—about 20 miles away. However, , King declined its take-home use.
Minniti claims the policy in place now—which doesn’t go beyond the 10-mile radius rule—is “very loose.”
“We really have to start taking a zero budgeting approach to the vehicle policy and start at the base,” he said.
Minniti said he’s always been “100 percent opposed to any employee taking home a vehicle.”
“I think they should pick it up on campus,” he added. “But our policy allows it, so my opinion is irrelevant. But I think we need to start at that point. Do we believe that vehicles should be taken home or do we believe they should be returned at the end of every day? That’s the first hurdle we have to be clear on.”
Committeewoman Kathy Fitzpatrick believes take-home cars should be allowed for 24-hour employees.
“If they are called frequently on off-hours,” she said during Monday’s meeting, “that consideration should be made for allowing them to have a vehicle.”
At the meeting, township committee members asked Frank Locantore, , to look into who uses the vehicles and if it’s needed.
“My recommendation is to have Frank look at the six township employees who operate vehicles,” Mayor Don Brauckmann said Tuesday. “I want him to look at the positions and justify the needs and try to come back with some sort of report based on different job descriptions and the need to have a vehicle.”
Minniti is hoping for a policy that doesn’t allow for exceptions; instead, the policy would have to change itself.
Emergencies should be submitted for mileage reimbursement, Minniti suggested.
“Because emergencies don’t happen all that often,” he said.
One option, Minniti said Locantore brought up, is to let an employee take home a car, but he or she would reimburse the township for mileage.
Minniti wants to do away with the mileage limitations and “really look at whether a person should be allowed to take a car home,” and if they are, “what sort of giveback to the taxpayers can be achieved.”
Locantore said in some municipalities, township employees have to pay taxes on a take-home vehicle.
The new administrator said he would meet the department heads and have information for township committee by October’s work session meeting.