More efficient system will save money, promote use of ‘green’ vehicles
Cook County is reducing and streamlining its vehicle fleet operations and creating a more efficient system of vehicle purchase, use and maintenance that will save taxpayers money.
The County is updating its Vehicle Use Policy to ensure centralized and consistent fleet management in the spirit of shared and consolidated services, part of the administration’s pledge to improve operations County-wide, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said.
Additionally, the County and the Cook County Sheriff’s Department will work together to streamline the maintenance of all County vehicles, Preckwinkle said.
The Sheriff’s Office will now maintain and service all County passenger vehicles, primarily from a garage in LaGrange Park. It will also salvage vehicles and track all vehicle-related data, such as odometer readings and vehicle utilization, to ensure quality and safety.
This means all County-owned vehicles will be consistently maintained by technicians who have developed specialization in the County’s fleet. The partnership will also provide reduced costs for repairs compared to existing external contracts, Preckwinkle said.
“Partnerships like this make sure we are delivering the County’s needed services, while also being fiscally responsible,” Preckwinkle said.
“Through this collaboration with the President's Office, County taxpayers will save a minimum of tens of thousands of dollars as we ensure the safety and reliability of the vehicles,” said Sheriff Tom Dart.
Other changes to fleet operations include:
- The Countywide Vehicle Steering Committee, made up of members from different County agencies and departments, will establish purchasing specifications of vehicles to minimize the types of vehicles bought by the County. This will be done to ensure the County is purchasing environmentally friendly vehicles in the most efficient and affordable manner.
- The committee will also develop a vehicle replacement plan. The plan’s goals include increasing the number of “green” vehicles.
Additionally, the committee will continue to encourage County employees to participate in the County’s car sharing program, with the goal of reducing the County’s passenger vehicle fleet. In FY 16, the county plans to reduce its fleet by 2.3 percent, or 30 passenger vehicles, a savings of nearly $200,000.
“This update to Fleet Management is another step in our ongoing efforts to streamline County government, and the partnership with the Sheriff is a perfect example of how we can create efficiencies across different offices and departments,” Preckwinkle said. “These fleet improvements will allow us, among other things, to maintain a centralized fleet maintenance system and purchase environmentally-friendly vehicles in an efficient and affordable manner.”
The changes were introduced at last month’s County Board meeting and referred to the Finance Committee for consideration. On Wednesday, the full board adopted the measure.
Fleet Management was created by Preckwinkle under the County’s Bureau of Administration in 2013 and charged with reviewing the assignment and use of the County’s vehicle assets and recommending efficiencies and cost-saving measures.
As a result of the division’s work, the County’s fleet has been reduced by more than 120 vehicles. Those vehicles that are no longer needed have been salvaged, a “Shared Fleet” has been created and fuel use and mileage reimbursement to employees have declined. Altogether, the County has achieved a cost savings of more than $1 million.