Leading up to his election as Hempstead Town Supervisor, Don Clavin made a promise to his constituents to eliminate many “take home” town vehicles in an effort to generate significant long-term savings for the Town of Hempstead.
Surrounded by dozens of vehicles that were formerly used by staffers to commute to and from work, Clavin said he is committed to reducing the costly practice as part of his agenda to make Hempstead’s town government more cost effective and efficient. Joining Clavin at the press conference was senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby, Councilman Dennis Dunne, Sr. and Town Clerk Kate Murray.
The keys to more than 40 cars and trucks have been turned in as the first phase of Clavin’s administration’s new policy, which will drastically curtail the use of take-home vehicles by Hempstead’s municipal managers. The staffers who were assigned these vehicles had previously been authorized to drive them from their home to work and vice versa in addition to utilizing them during the workday.
“I’m pleased to terminate the use of dozens of vehicles for commuting purposes by government employees,” Clavin said. “While I recognize the need for using certain government vehicles during work hours, my priorities include reducing the cost of government services for taxpayers in our township. Accordingly, I am drastically curtailing the use of take-home vehicles, which will offer real taxpayer savings.”
Clavin unveiled details of his plan for the take-home cars, in an effort to save money and enhance government efficiency and accountability. Key points of the supervisor’s agenda are:
• In an effort to enhance governmental efficiency, consolidating 19 of the 40 rescinded “take-home” cars into departmental “pool” vehicles.
• These cars would be accessible only to authorized employees during work hours or emergency situations. The “pool” vehicles will be stationed at designated town facilities.
• By pooling vehicles, the town is projected to save $154,000 over the course of five years.
• Selling or repurposing the remaining 21 “take home” vehicles in an effort to generate a projected savings of $462,000.
• By taking these steps to eliminate all take-home cars, the town is projected to save $616,000 over five years.
“By removing many of the town’s ‘take-home’ vehicles from the road, we’re also eliminating a major burden on our taxpayers,” Clavin said.
Savings realized through the elimination of take-home vehicles are comprised of several different factors. Reduction of fuel costs, wear-and-tear on vehicles, reduced maintenance and repair costs, and reduction of liability risks, which result in settlement of accident claims are among the areas of cost savings. Additionally, Clavin said the town will realize revenues through the sale of some of the unneeded cars, SUVs and trucks that will no longer be used for take-home and on-the-job tasks.
The elimination of “take-home” cars represents another promise kept by Clavin in his first month in office as supervisor. During his first day on the job, Clavin achieved his goal of slashing the supervisor’s office payroll in half. Clavin’s staff will total $900,000 in salaries, which is $1 million less than the previous supervisor’s bloated $1.9 million in budgeted salaries for 2020.
A comprehensive review of all vehicles within the town’s fleet will be ongoing, including an assessment of usage and necessity. Combining the $1 million savings in the supervisor’s budget with the start of the elimination of take-home town cars will yield money, Clavin said he intends to invest into quality-of-life initiatives, such as roadway repairs and improvements.
“The message is plain and simple,” Clavin said. “Government must operate more efficiently and cost effectively, and I am committed to efforts such as this, which will offer genuine taxpayer savings to residents of America’s largest township.”
—Additional information provided by the Town of Hempstead