Monday, May 3, 2010

City/County Fleet Merger?

In order to begin a fleet consolidation process, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has asked City Council to extend its contract with Cincinnati-based First Vehicle Services up to six months so that it will end when Allegheny County’s separate contract with First Vehicle ends. City Councilman Bill Peduto held a post-agenda meeting this morning.

Three bidders have submitted proposals to manage both the city and county vehicle fleets. Peduto says the process must be thorough from purchasing through parts, repair, and preventive maintenance to get the maximum benefits.

On that larger scale, he says it may make sense to bring the operations in-house and to extend them to schools and other municipalities so they too could take advantage of the cost savings.

The overall goals he thinks council members share are service, dependability and safety with maximum efficiency.

Under Act 47, the city had to put fleet management, which had been in-house, up for bids, and First Vehicle took over in 2005. (Garbage services were also put out for bids, but the in-house service was low bidder, according to Peduto.)

Councilman Doug Shields says there’s a failure of leadership in moving forward with the overall City/County consolidation that’s been talked about for so long. He says the problem is with leadership from the mayor and the county executive, not City Council.

In January, City Controller Michael Lamb’s audit of First Vehicle's fleet management showed rising costs and problems with preventive maintenance and turn-around time for repairs. He suggested investigating bringing the services in-house.

Councilwoman Darlene Harris says the only thing privatization of the city's fleet has done is cost more.

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