Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto hopes to get a better handle on how many city employees have take-home vehicles, slashing the number of cars permanently assigned to employees from 56 to 38.
The reduction comes as the result of an executive order issued Friday. Mr. Peduto said the only city employees who will keep their take-home vehicles are public works and public safety supervisors who need to be on-call for emergencies 24 hours a day and operations director Guy Costa. The order also directs Mr. Costa to write a new policy governing when take-home vehicles should be assigned and who should get them.
"City government's oversight of take-home cars has become much too loose over the years, and my administration is committed to tightening up all such standards," Mr. Peduto said. "I don't have a take-home car myself, and neither should any city worker who is not a first-line responder 24 hours a day to emergencies."
The 18 vehicles being cut from the fleet are coming from the mayor's office, the bureau of building inspection, the fire bureau, parks and recreation, the police bureau, public safety and public works. Those vehicles will be returned to the city fleet, where they will be available for city employees to check out for city business.
Some of those vehicles were assigned to employees who have since left the city, and their replacements will not get cars, Mr. Costa explained. The mayor will no longer have a take-home vehicle, nor will the chief of the bureau of building inspection and the director of parks and recreation. Two other assistant parks directors are also losing their city cars. The bulk of the reduction came from public works, which will still have 10 employees with take-home vehicles.
The city's system for monitoring take-home cars was in the news earlier this week in an incident involving a recently terminated spokeswoman for the police bureau.
City officials said Diane Richard's last day working for the bureau was March 3. The take-home SUV assigned to her was spotted parked outside her Crafton Heights home twice in the following days. She returned the unmarked car Monday, one week after her last day with the bureau.
Officials could not explain why Ms. Richard kept the car past her last day or who was responsible for ensuring that she returned it.
Mr. Costa said Monday that the lack of oversight was among the issues the Peduto administration hoped to address when it revamped policies involving take-home cars.
He said various city departments had different policies regarding the cars, and he hoped to implement a "universal" policy that would apply to all city departments.
Moriah Balingit: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-2533 or on Twitter @MoriahBee. Liz Navratil: email@example.com, 412-263-1438 or on Twitter @LizNavratil. First Published March 14, 2014 12:42 PM