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Tracking State Vehicles to Save Taxpayer Money [AUDIO]

Few things anger New Jerseyans more than when they see a state vehicle being abused.

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After all, the citizens pay for those cars and the gas to make them go. In Jersey City, Mayor Steven Fulop has announced a 30-day pilot program to put GPS tracking devices in 20 city-owned vehicles.

Assemblywoman May Handlin likes the idea and plans to introduce a bill to require it at the state level.

“Gas is very expensive and every citizen knows that,” explains Handlin. “It’s just plain not fair, not right to have public employees unfairly mooching off of the taxpayers and that’s precisely what they’re doing when they’re using their government-owned vehicles for personal use.”

The system that will be used in Jersey City is a fleet management program that makes it easy to effectively and efficiently monitor city owned vehicles at all times, allowing directors to track time of movement, ignition and activity.

It also tracks vehicle statistics, including total drive time, stop time, hours driven, routes taken and idle time for the day while tracking and locating a vehicle’s current location on an interactive map in real time.

Requiring GPS devices in all taxpayer-funded vehicles at every level of government is what Handlin would like to see happen, but admits it may not be possible to pass a state law that would implement such a program. She thinks starting with a state level program would go a long way toward saving taxpayer money.

“My bill will make it impossible for a public employee to get away with using a taxpayer-owned vehicle for their own use,” predicts Handlin, who says she will have the bill drafted within a week and will formally introduce it the next time the Assembly is in session in Trenton.

The GPS system in Jersey City allows a radius to be set that notifies city officials when vehicles enter or exit a designated area marked or a vehicle goes outside the city’s boundaries. There is also a Vehicle Maintenance Module which monitors oil changes, inspections and other routine vehicle maintenance.

“With this program we are creating mechanisms for accountability,” says Fulop. “Any employee who takes a city vehicle outside of city bounds or uses it for a purpose other than city business, we will know and we will discipline such behavior.”

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