The Council of the District of Columbia
The Office of Councilmember Mary M. Cheh, Ward 3
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 2, 2012
Communications Director: Kiara Pesante | o: 202-724-8089 c: 202-701-9439
Council Passes Cheh’s District Employee Transportation Bill
Will overhaul D.C.’s fleet of cars, vans, create strict regulations on government leases
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, B19-354, the Employee Transportation Act of 2012, passed unanimously on final reading during the Council’s October legislative meeting. Councilmember Mary M. Cheh (D–Ward 3), the bill’s author, issued the following statement:
“This bill aims to reform the District’s use and procurement of official vehicles. The District owns or leases 6000 vehicles for official use, and it is vital that we use our vehicles in an energy efficient way and streamline our operations to maximize cost savings. This bill authorizes the District Department of Public Works (DPW) to create a fleet management program to efficiently manage the District's fleet of vehicles, to create rules for agencies who self-manage fleets of vehicles, and requires both the Council and the Mayor to report on what it will take to facilitate increased employee use of public transit, Capital Bikeshare, and taxicabs for work travel.
“We already know that employees use these various methods to conduct District business, and we should encourage all means of transportation that might save taxpayers’ money. In addition, we should take better care to keep meticulous records on the use of government vehicles and ensure there is no abuse of these privileges. Therefore, this bill also repeals the Mayor’s blanket authority over all D.C. government vehicles.
“While approximately half of the District’s vehicles serve in an emergency capacity and are assigned to the Metropolitan Police Department, Fire and Emergency Medical Services, and the Department of Corrections, a large portion of the remainder are passenger vehicles which can be shared across agencies, and meet the District’s transportation needs more efficiently under the requirements of this law.”
Employee transportation became a public issue at the start of Council Period 19. The then-Chairman of the Council requested a luxury Lincoln Navigator for his own personal use. The Executive, in acquiescing to that request, violated the District law that generally prohibits the purchase of sport utility vehicles for use as passenger vehicles. After this issue was raised, the Committee conducted a comprehensive review of the District’s vehicle fleet and employee transportation practices and discovered that the patchwork of rules and regulations governing the acquisition and use of District government vehicles is incomplete and outdated.
This bill was introduced on June 21, 2011 by Councilmember Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6). A hearing was held on October 17, 2011 by the Committee on the Environment, Public Works, and Transportation, of which Councilmember Cheh is the chair. The Committee unanimously approved this bill on July 5, 2012, and the Council unanimously approved it on First Reading on July 10.