February 15, 2009

Bucks County Courier Times: "Taking the keys"

Editorial, February 11, 2009

County cars under a more watchful eye.

On the plus side of the county government ledger, another perk is shrinking - free cars.

Spurred by minority Commissioner Diane Marseglia's watchdog efforts, the board's Republican majority ordered a review of the county's car policy last year. Employees were asked to explain why they needed a car, with particular attention to employees driving county cars 24-7.

It took nearly a year of debate, tabulation and analysis, but the number of county workers who drive a county car to and from work will drop from 25 to six. And this year, all of them will have to pay tax on the benefit, which amounts to added income of about $2,175 per person. The benefit ranged in value between $685 and $4,089 per employee. Nice perk for employees at the top of the scale.

In addition, the county's asset manager is working on a real policy for using county cars. Currently a paragraph, that guideline will grow to about 20 pages.

Glad to hear county officials finally are bringing some accountability to a perk that for too long was handed out unevenly to county workers and unapologetically at county taxpayers' expense.