Update on the State of Waste

Where's the reform?

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) - One year since we investigated the mismanagement of the West Virginia state fleet system, there is still no plan in place to fix it.

"This is roughly a $200,000,000 asset that we cannot properly track and that's wrong," Delegate Gary Howell told us February 14, 2017.

To this date, it is still unknown just how many government vehicles are out there unaccounted for.

"We don't know. There's anywhere between 8,000 to 12,000, so it's not a way to run a business - not a way to run a government," State Auditor Aaron Allred told us last February.

According to a 2017 state audit, 7,504 vehicles are registered to fleet management, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) said it had 10,504 vehicles on hand and the state Board of Risk insurance and Management (BRIM) insured 12,000 vehicles.

In 2017, we showed you a proposed  reform bill that would give fleet management new control of the entire system  and accountability reporting from each state government agency.

New titles and new license tags were said to be coming, but in the end,  the plan was not approved. Reform failed.

"It ran out of time in the final night," said Howell. 

Howell said some lawmakers had concerns about the $100,000 dollar price tag to fix the multi-million dollar mismanaged fleet system. It was so broken, Howell said some tags were even sold on eBay.

"So if you had a late model car you could go in and buy that set of tags and put them on it and the truth of the matter is most law enforcement don't pay attention to state vehicles," said Howell.

Howell is now authoring the same reform bill again. House bill 4015 and another similar bill (HB4170) is back up for consideration at this year's legislative session. 

While it failed in 2017, Howell said he remains cautiously optimistic.

"Yeah little bit of caution - you never know about this place," said Howell. "Somebody might find something that you never thought of but we vetted it now for two years. We've worked very closely with the administration to get this thing down. I think we are there but you never know in these things."

If approved, Howell said new vehicle titles and tags would start being issued in July. By the end of the year, he said lawmakers will have a better idea of how many vehicles are in the system before they streamline the future usage of those vehicles.

The savings could be in the millions of dollars. 

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