The Scioto County Sheriff’s Office methods for handling their vehicles are shockingly bad according to County Commissioner Mike Crabtree. He says he discussed the ongoing dispute between the commissioners and the sheriff’s office over the actual number of vehicles in the sheriff’s fleet with an attorney at the State Association of County Commissioners and the attorney couldn’t believe that Scioto County did not have a fleet management program in place.
A fleet management program tracks fuel use and maintenance, makes sure to take vehicles out regularly for service, takes older vehicles out of service, and arranges for their sale through proper channels.
Crabtree says the attorney also voiced another concern – liability for the county. Instead of being stored at a county facility, the out of service vehicles are stacked up in field once owned by a deceased special deputy. The facility is not licensed or bonded. Commissioners were originally told there were 62 vehicles there that were worth nothing more than scrap. An independent audit showed there were actually 79. While some were indeed scrapped, others had a value of up to $1200.
Since the vehicles are stored on private property and the property that is not licensed or bonded to auction or scrap vehicles, the county could be held liable if anyone is injured in or around the cars or while attempting to remove them from the property. The commissioners say they have a licensed, bonded party ready to pay $250 each for the vehicles.
Commissioner Davis said the sheriff’s office has a right to keep spare parts but that many of these vehicles are so old that they aren’t even useful for that.
Crabtree says the commissioners referred someone who could handle fleet management to the sheriff’s office with no luck. “We need to get those vehicles back on county property because of liability.” He also says it’s possible the county is still paying insurance on some of the vehicles. “That’s a lot of our tax dollars going down the rathole. I don’t know why they let this go on.” He says he was advised that the commissioners should send a demand to the sheriff’s office that he put a fleet management program in place before any new vehicle purchases are approved.
The commissioners say they are following legal advice to refer the issues to the Ohio State Auditor for review and won’t make any moves until they hear back from the state. Commissioner Davis said “We’re at a standstill” and that any additional questions on the matter should go to the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office or the Scioto County Prosecutor.