Infrastructure & Environment

Staying Afloat: Kansas Learns a Lesson About Motor Pools

In 2003, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius Eliminated The State's Motor Vehicle Pool. Cars Were Sold Off. Agencies Were Directed To Rent The Vehicles They Need. Sibelius Predicted Major Savings.
by | July 2007

In 2003, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius Eliminated The State's Motor Vehicle Pool. Cars Were Sold Off. Agencies Were Directed To Rent The Vehicles They Need. Sibelius Predicted Major Savings.

Four Years Later, Kansas Is Spending Almost The Same Amount On Rental Cars That It Did On Maintaining A Pool. A Legislative Audit Has Found That The Decision To Dissolve The State's Pool Yielded A One-Time Savings Of $24.5 Million. But The Rising Price Of Gas And The Cost Of Renting Cars Have Undercut Other Savings. According To The Audit, Kansas Spent $37.5 Million On Vehicles In 2003, Before The Change In Policy. Last Year, It Spent $37.3 Million.

Sebelius Points Out That When She Took Office In 2003, The State Was Facing Severe Revenue Shortfalls. As Part Of A Cost-Savings Effort, She Says, "We Determined How Many Vehicles We Had And How Many We Needed, Sold The Vehicles We Didn't Need, And As The Legislature's Auditors Have Confirmed, Saved Taxpayers A Substantial Amount Of Money." Those Savings Have Not, However, Continued. The Audit, Performed At The Request Of The Legislature, Found, For Instance, That Some Agencies Were Using Rental Cars "When It Would Have Been Cheaper To Own Them."

Sebelius' Political Opponents In The Legislature Criticized The Vehicle Plan After The Release Of The Audit. But One Lawmaker Admitted That The Policy Change Added Up To A Draw. "At The End Of The Day, This Was Not A Wonderful, Good-Government Move," Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt Told A Newspaper. "This Was One Of Those Mole Hills That Became A Volcanic Mountain For Both Sides."

Zach Patton  |  Executive Editor
zpatton@governing.com  | 

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. You can enter an anonymous Display Name or connect to a social profile.

More from Infrastructure & Environment