Thursday, January 14, 2010

Fleet Audit Reveals Need for Better Contract Enforcement

Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb released a performance audit of the contractor who maintains and repairs the city’s vehicles today. The audit revealed that the city has not been monitoring the contract carefully and mistakes were found.
Lamb says for the most part, First Vehicle Services (FVS) has done a decent job, however the costs are escalating. He says because of this, city council should examine whether whether to have city employees do the maintenance or continue to contract it out. He says his guess is a change wouldn’t be worth it.
Lamb says the FVS hasn’t completely followed the contract.
Lamb says the time to repair a vehicle should be 24 to 48 hours, depending on the vehicle. From the 2006 audit, FVS left the vehicles out of service much longer than they should have been.
Another problem with FVS is that they are moving a lot of the jobs to the category of “non-targeted repairs,” which cost more. Lamb says repairs such as fixing chains on tires should be regular maintenance, however the contractor is charging extra on those.
Lamb says the garage FVS uses is owned by the city. In the contract, the city pays for gas and electricity, and the contractor gives credit for those costs. However, Lamb says they are not paying for water. Because it is a city building, it was never fitted for a water meter, so the city has no way of going back to them for water billing. Lamb recommends they get a meter in the building so they can pay for their water.
Lamb does not recommend returning to in-house fleet maintenance. Instead, he says the contract should be closely monitored from here on out, and when it comes to termination, the county and city should work together toward a joint vehicle maintenance contract for full effectiveness.

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