Council members debate car perks - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Council members debate car perks

By Jamel Major - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Memphis City Council members want to restrict which city employees get to drive city cars.  Tuesday, council members took their first step to take away dozens of cars.

Council member Kemp Conrad says when city employees take city vehicles home it can be costly.

"It's anywhere from a couple hundred dollars per car per year to five, seven thousand per car," Conrad said at a council committee meeting Tuesday.

It's why Conrad is pushing to save the city money with a proposal for tougher restrictions.

Tuesday, Memphis City Council members on the Personnel Committee approved Conrad's proposed ordinance requiring employees to live in Memphis in order to have an employee vehicle.

"Certain police, fire, public service directors or officials that do not have to come to the city for emergency needs, and they do live outside the city, this would restrict them from taking home a vehicle," said council member Reid Hedgepeth.

According to the ordinance, employees with take home cars must be, "those whose job functions require them to be available at all times for immediate emergency response where they have actual responsibility over a scene, or those who are assigned to specialized response units working a scene within the divisions of Fire, Police, EMA and Public Works."

Conrad says there are about 25 Division directors that currently have take home cars. If the ordinance passes in full council, those directors would lose their take home cars.

"Take home cars for Division Directors that don't need them to respond to the scene in the middle of the night are a perk and not a necessity, and they cost a lot of money to fuel and maintenance," he said.

Conrad says the recent controversy surrounding General Services Director Estrice Boone is a prime example.  Boone received a written reprimand from Mayor Willie Herenton for his flamboyant city vehicle.

"I applaud the mayor for reprimanding that director and taking the car away.  Again it's not a necessity," Conrad said.

The full Memphis City Council plans to discuss the issue again in two weeks.  Members will have to work out the full details of the ordinance before it is presented for a vote.

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