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New York, NY - Workers Ordered to Give Up City-Owned Cars

Published on: January 1, 2009 10:11 PM
By: NY Times
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New York, NY - Economic hard times are about to hit New York City’s employees where it hurts: in their driveways.

As the Bloomberg administration scrambles to cut spending, it is ordering city agencies like the police, parks and health departments to give up nearly 700 city-owned cars, a cherished perk for their workers.

The move would save $20 million over the next two years, according to a copy of the memorandum sent to city agencies.

The decision to sell off scores of Toyota Prius cars and Ford Escape sport utility vehicles is very likely to irritate many city workers, who use the them to travel around the city inspecting sights or rushing to meetings. But it would help blunt criticism that City Hall practices a form of vehicular hypocrisy, telling ordinary New Yorkers to use mass transportation while at times clogging the streets with its own city-issued cars.

City agencies must relinquish at least 10 percent, or about 685, of their 6,800 nonemergency vehicles by the end of March, according to the memo from Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, which was sent on yesterday and obtained by The New York Times.

And they must cut their overall vehicle expenses by roughly another 5 percent, either by relinquishing more cars or cutting down on fuel or maintenance costs, the memo said.

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The decision represents Mr. Bloomberg’s latest attack on what he regards as unnecessary traffic that snarls the city’s roadways and pollutes the air.

Removing 700 city cars from the road, Mr. Bloomberg’s memo said, would help the city meet its goal of reducing carbon emissions from city government by 30 percent by 2017.

Jeff Kay, the director of the mayor’s office of operations, said the “goal is twofold - one, produce savings at a time when we need to stretch every penny, and two, reduce our carbon footprint to help reach our sustainability goals.”
He added, “The fleet reduction does both.”

Union officials who represent city workers declined to weigh in on the change, saying most of the cars are driven by nonunion supervisors and managers.

The city faces a projected budget gap of at least $1.3 billion next year. City Hall aides have pledged that in such tough financial times, all spending, no matter how seemingly off limits, must be scrutinized. The mayor’s decision to take away cars seemed to reinforce that message.

Many city agencies operate their own fleet of cars, which they assign to employees for official use. Buildings inspectors use city-owned cars to travel to construction sites, for example. And supervisors at the Department of Parks and Recreation use them to get to far-flung city properties.

For many of these employees, mass transportation may add hours to their travel schedule.

But City Hall is convinced that the agencies can do more with less, possibly by sharing fewer cars, or perhaps even using rental services, on occasion.

The Police Department has about 1,200 so-called light-duty, nonemergency cars. The Department of Environmental Protection has about 750.

The city estimates that most of the cars have a resale value of about $2,000 at auction.

Douglas M. Turetsky, a spokesman for the city’s Independent Budget Office, said the estimated $20 million in savings from selling the cars “could preserve another essential service.” “When you are facing a big budget gap, every bit counts,” he said.


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Read Comments (17)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jan 01, 2009 at 10:21 PM Anonymous Says:

ordinary New Yorkers are suffering from the bad economy and these faschists are worried about their "perks"

2

 Jan 01, 2009 at 10:20 PM Oy Gevald Says:

Perhaps this will partially resolve the issue of less police riding the subways. Now all the honchos will be riding mass transit and you can be sure it'll be safe enough for them. Heck, even FDNY ambulances can be eliminated, can't they? The EMT's can simply flag down a taxi and rush the patient to the nearest hospital via taxi. Betcha the taxis will get to the hospital faster than the FDNY bus!!!

3

 Jan 01, 2009 at 11:24 PM aaa Says:

What i dont understand is, why was all this wasted spending going on in the first place? Why was the city spending taxpayers money like kids in a candy store? The city should really have to give accountabilty to all their spendig even in the best of times.

4

 Jan 01, 2009 at 11:08 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Oy Gevald Says:

Perhaps this will partially resolve the issue of less police riding the subways. Now all the honchos will be riding mass transit and you can be sure it'll be safe enough for them. Heck, even FDNY ambulances can be eliminated, can't they? The EMT's can simply flag down a taxi and rush the patient to the nearest hospital via taxi. Betcha the taxis will get to the hospital faster than the FDNY bus!!!

good point or get rid of ems to private companies who have proven they can do it better

5

 Jan 01, 2009 at 10:58 PM JoeFlix Says:

No matter what, this is totally a step in the right direction. Thanks Bloomy

6

 Jan 01, 2009 at 10:44 PM George W. Says:

Wow $2000 for a car?
Where will these auctions be held?
I would buy a good running car more or less new for that price.

7

 Jan 01, 2009 at 10:39 PM Anonymous Says:

Bet you the ticket agents get to keep thier wheels.

8

 Jan 01, 2009 at 10:34 PM yehudit Says:

can anyone explain where the 20 million dollars savings over 2 years will be coming from taking 700 cars off the streets?

9

 Jan 01, 2009 at 11:52 PM Anonymous Says:

$20m over 2 years on 700 cars??? That means they are spending now about $15,000 per car per year??? On what?!?!?

10

 Jan 02, 2009 at 12:23 AM 1HooKnows Says:

If they analyzed the use of each and every car, they would find out that the amount of cars can be cut by a minnimum of 25%.

11

 Jan 02, 2009 at 07:36 AM robroy560 Says:

Reply to #9  
Anonymous Says:

$20m over 2 years on 700 cars??? That means they are spending now about $15,000 per car per year??? On what?!?!?

I don't know about the exact numbers, but let's just say governments don't only look for the lowest price. Why should they? They operate with our money,a nd most of the time we're too stupid to look into things.

Back to your question... there is the cost of the car, maintenance, insurance, gasoline, etc. I'm sure the employees who have the perk are not conservative with it.

12

 Jan 02, 2009 at 06:35 AM Anonymous Says:

does anyone see the irony in the fact that the city buys japaneese cars? Goes to show how far off the mark the American car companies have been that even its own goverment doesn't believe in them.

13

 Jan 02, 2009 at 01:43 AM Mrs. Kuchelefel Says:

Reply to #9  
Anonymous Says:

$20m over 2 years on 700 cars??? That means they are spending now about $15,000 per car per year??? On what?!?!?

The 20,000 figure is not so far off. City vehicles cost the city apx 8,000 in fuel expenses and then add the oil changes which is 80.00 because four union guys have to do the oil change. Every time you fix the car it cost the city tripple the price because of the union contracts. Wabc radio reported this two weeks ago.

You must give credit to Mayor Bloomberg for finally undoing all the garbage of the previuos mayors when it came to spending. The stuff that is being cut over the last few years is the waste and the only reason hwy it hurts is we are not used to the changes. In 5 years we will appreciate the changes of less spending and cutting waste. We can learn from the Mayor by doing with less and stop with keeping up with the Jonses.

311 is a great example of how effitient the city is becoming. having citizens call in non essential emergancies saves the city in millions of dolars worth of potential lawsuits. Calling in a pot hole or a street light condition is fixed with in hours where as years ago it would take anywhere from 2 days to two weeks!

14

 Jan 02, 2009 at 09:05 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #12  
Anonymous Says:

does anyone see the irony in the fact that the city buys japaneese cars? Goes to show how far off the mark the American car companies have been that even its own goverment doesn't believe in them.

If a American car company made a decent small hybrid car the city would buy them. As it is, the Prius is the only one out there right now.

15

 Jan 02, 2009 at 02:38 PM mr.49er Says:

Reply to #6  
George W. Says:

Wow $2000 for a car?
Where will these auctions be held?
I would buy a good running car more or less new for that price.

probably in willy, in the brooklyn navy yard.

16

 Jan 02, 2009 at 02:34 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
aaa Says:

What i dont understand is, why was all this wasted spending going on in the first place? Why was the city spending taxpayers money like kids in a candy store? The city should really have to give accountabilty to all their spendig even in the best of times.

aaa what are you talking about? Who said it was wasteful spending, when you have a car to get to all the sites you need to inspect that's called waste spending!? But now in our crucial times we have to cut even some very important coats to balance budget, BTW I think the city should privatise the sanitation department and stop taxing us for it, it will be much cheaper if there is a good competition like the commercial garbage has.

17

 Jan 04, 2009 at 09:33 AM Conservative One Says:

All that will happen is that these lazy do nothing City employees will use their own cars, charging us with thei mileage and tolls and get placards which will allow them to park wherever they want to because the Brownies will not ticket them.

18

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