MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — One of Gov. Kay Ivey’s latest executive orders is putting the brakes on unnecessary state-owned vehicles.
EO 728 directs the Alabama Department of Transportation to eliminate the state motor pool by October.
“They’re just not being used. They’re sitting there. They’re depreciating. It’s a drain on the state finances,” State Auditor Andrew Sorrell said.
ALDOT Spokesman Tony Harris says there are about 115 vehicles in the pool– a number that’s declined in recent years due to less demand from agencies during the pandemic.
It’s unclear how much exactly the state spends on the vehicles, but new State Auditor Andrew Sorrell says it’s probably too much.
“While I don’t know the exact dollar amount of the money being wasted, I can assure you that it’s enough money that the governor wanted to do something about it,” Sorrell said.
But those vehicles are a small portion of the 9,500 the state owns for its roughly 30,000 employees.
That’s why the executive order requires agencies get rid of unnecessary vehicles and create policies establishing the proper use of the vehicles they do keep.
It also requires those agencies to start reporting to the Governor’s Office annually on how it uses and assigns state vehicles.
Sorrell commends the Governor’s action but wants to take investigating government waste a step further within his own role as auditor.
“What I’m going to be asking the legislature to do is consider expanding our duties and responsibilities,” Sorrell said.
Sorrell says his office doesn’t have much power beyond property audits — leaving things like the cost of state vehicles or cellphones for example, largely unchecked.
“While I want to maintain efficiency and keep a lean staff, I think we need to expand the office, because the idea behind the auditor’s office is it should pay for itself. You should be finding people who are embezzling money from the taxpayers,” Sorrell said.
Sorrell says he expects to see a bill to expand his office’s powers this session.