The Jackson County Commission discussed its vehicle policy once again at a work session Monday afternoon.
District 4 Commissioner Mike Sisk has raised the issue at several commission meetings this year about a truck that Commission Chairman Tim Guffey drives back and forth from his home on a daily basis.
Guffey said he wanted to clarify some things about the vehicle policy. He said the county already has a vehicle policy in place.
County Attorney John Porter said the vehicle use policy describes the amount that would be assessed to a public official who drives a public vehicle on a regular basis. He said the amount assessed is about three dollars a day if someone drives the vehicle home because of the necessity of them having to go out at night or anything else. He said the policy had been in effect for years.
“I’ve been the one that’s questioned this,” said Sisk. “And how do we go ahead and get dollars approved across the road [the legislative delegation] by the county. It’s not only across the road, it’s the people. When I say that, it’s the people’s money. When we’re sitting right here with no money, and we’re turning around and spending money that belongs to taxpayers, and waste it in a way that’s unnecessary, I cannot sit right here as an elected official and not bring up something about it.”
Sisk said he didn’t see the previous chairmen taking a vehicle. Sisk said he has no problem with Guffey driving the truck to meetings. He feels like the county is “breaking a law and taking advantage of the people.”
Sisk mentioned a ruling made in June 1995 that said it is illegal for the county to run vehicles without a decal. He also said there were other county employees taking vehicles home. He feels it is cheaper to pay mileage to these employees if they get called to work after hours.
Porter said the act Sisk mentioned leaves it up to the commission to implement the act. Porter said to his knowledge, the act has never been implemented by the commission.
District 2 Commissioner Jason Venable said the county bought the vehicle Guffey drives for $5,000. He said Guffey was paying about $780 a year to drive the vehicle. Guffey also does not turn in mileage.
“I haven’t done the math, but I’m pretty sure the taxpayer is coming out ahead,” said Venable. “Had we bought a brand new $30,000 or $40,000 vehicle, yeah it would have been ridiculous. But for what we gave for the vehicle, I don’t see an issue with it, and I think it saves money overall. And pointing out these little things that rub people the wrong way, when we’ve got a huge problem, that’s not productive.We need to be productive. We’re elected by 50,000 plus people to take care of the county’s business and to be adults about it. I just don’t agree with the small petty stuff. Let’s do what’s right.”
Sisk wants to put the issue on the agenda for the commission to vote. Guffey said the commission voted unanimously to purchase the vehicle at a budget hearing last year.
Guffey said it is a nonissue. He said the county is following the policy like they should. He said that he is saving the county money by driving the truck instead on logging mileage. Guffey said that the only reason Sisk is bringing up the issue is for show.