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Alachua County Employee Policy Manual


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Vehicle Use Policy

Policy No.: 6-7 Effective: 02/8/2011
Revision No.: 3 Review Date: 02/8/2012

OVERVIEW: This policy provides guidelines and assigns responsibility for the safe operation and use of all vehicles operated by authorized individuals of the Board of County Commissioners of Alachua County and all other vehicles covered by the Self-Insurance Fund. It is the intent of this policy to ensure that County vehicles are safe, and that operators adhere to all local, state and federal laws.

SCOPE: This policy applies to all regular full, part-time, and temporary employees of the Board of County Commissioners and all owned, non-owned, rented or leased vehicles.

PROVISIONS:

It is the policy of Alachua County that all County employees shall follow these procedures for the assignment and utilization of County vehicles.
Procedure:

  1. Definitions
a. Authorized employees shall mean the designated County employee-operator of the County vehicle conducting County business.

b. County-Owned Vehicle shall mean any vehicle owned or leased by Alachua County. All County-owned vehicles shall display a yellow County tag and be clearly marked on the doors and rear of the vehicle with the County, seal, assigned department, and a vehicle number. Exceptions for some vehicles assigned to sensitive jobs to not be marked will require written approval from the County Manager or Constitutional Officer.

c. County Business shall mean any authorized work or activity performed by a County employee conducting County business for Alachua County.

d. “De minimus” personal use shall mean infrequent and limited travel between work stops during the work day. Limited means travel of such a short distance that accounting for it is unreasonable. Examples: Stopping between two business stops for a meal, stopping at a convenience store or to use the restroom while en-route on County business.

e.Assigned Vehicle- A County-owned automobile or truck designated for the use of an individual employee in the normal performance of his/her duties but not authorized for take-home use.

f. Take-Home Vehicle -A County –owned automobile or truck designated for the use of an individual employee in the normal performance of his/her duties including the commute from home to work. (Refer to Take Home Policy concerning the use of a Take Home Vehicle).

2. Use of Vehicles

Only authorized employees working within the scope and purpose of County business will use County vehicles. County-owned Vehicles are not assigned for, nor shall they be used for, the convenience of the employee with regard to personal transportation needs or other non County-related business.

a. Only authorized employees of Alachua County will be permitted to operate County vehicles.

b. Passengers in County vehicles must be engaged in County business. Individuals, including employees' family members,who are not County employees shall not be passengers unless authorization is requested by the department in advance and approved by the Constitutional Officer, County Manager or County Attorney.

c. Only “de minimus” personal use is permitted.

d. No out of Alachua County travel, unless a Travel Authorization or a Take Home Vehicle Authorization has been approved by the Department Director.

e. If there is any doubt as to the requirements and responsibilities of this Vehicle Use Policy the employee must consult with his/her Department Director before using the vehicle in the doubtful situation.

f. County owned vehicle usage shall comply with the Fuel Conservation Policy.

  1. Responsibilities
    1. Department Directors shall ensure:
i. Vehicle operators maintain a current Florida Driver’s License for the class of vehicle they are assigned to operate.

ii. All vehicle use is in accordance with this policy.

iii. Vehicles are maintained in accordance with the Alachua County Fleet Management Operating Procedures.

b. Authorized Employees shall ensure:

i. They possess and maintain the proper Florida Driver’s License.

ii. They notify their supervisor and Department Director of any changes in their driver’s license (e.g. revocation, suspension). They shall also notify their supervisor and Department Director of any traffic citations, etc. received while operating a County-owned vehicle or personal vehicle.

iii. They comply with all federal, state, and local laws relative to the operation of a County vehicle.

iv. They do not engage in distracted driving such as: using hand held electronic or communication devices while operating the vehicle. The use of vehicle mounted radios and hands free devices is allowed, but not encouraged. There will be no use of a keyboard associated with a telephone or computer by the driver while the vehicle is in motion. They cannot engage in any other activity which would take their attention from the safe operation of the vehicle while they are operating the vehicle. Employees operating emergency response vehicles who are required to communicate with other emergency vehicles and dispatch while responding to, or dealing with, an emergency call are exempted from the restriction.

v. They report all accidents or incidents in accordance with the Alachua County Safety Policy. Failing to report accidents shall result in appropriate disciplinary actions as described in the appropriate personnel policies.

vi. They do not drive while under the influence of alcohol, prescription medicines that warn against operating a vehicle, sleepiness, or illegal drugs. Alcoholic beverages or any illegal drugs are not permitted in County vehicles at any time.

vii. They report and assume responsibility for all citations or moving violations while operating the County vehicle. They do not use or allow the use of tobacco products in a County vehicle.

  1. Compliance: Failure to comply with this policy and procedure shall result in a disciplinary action as allowed by the personnel regulations.
ALACHUA COUNTY TAKE-HOME VEHICLE POLICY

Purpose:
The purpose of this policy is to provide direction for the use of county owned vehicles when a vehicle is to be taken home by authorized employees and to provide a means to determine if employees need a take home vehicle to perform their jobs effectively. Under some circumstances, it serves a public purpose to allow employees to take home county owned vehicles. Some examples are: 1) To provide an emergency vehicle with specialized equipment, needed to protect life and property; 2) To serve a public purpose by providing an economic benefit to Alachua County, by allowing employees, by reasons of their job, to take home a non-emergency type vehicle when they use a county-owned vehicle to perform their job responsibilities and neither report to a set office/work site at the beginning of a day nor return to a set office/work site at the end of a work day and that the benefit of the use of a take-home vehicle serves a public purpose through the more efficient delivery of county services.

Policy:
It is the policy of Alachua County that all county employees shall follow these procedures for the assignment and utilization of take home vehicles. Take home vehicle authorizations will be based on demonstrable and beneficial needs for the delivery of services for Alachua County, and shall comply with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidelines for employer provided vehicles.

1. Definitions

a. Authorized employees shall mean the designated operator of the county vehicle.

b. County Vehicle shall mean any vehicle owned or leased by Alachua County. All county-owned vehicles shall display a yellow county tag. All county-owned vehicles shall be clearly marked on the door and rear of the vehicle with the county, seal, assigned department, and a vehicle number. Exceptions for some vehicles assigned to sensitive jobs to not be marked will require written approval from the County Manager.

c. County Business shall mean any authorized work or activity performed by a county employee conducting county business for Alachua County.

d. “De minimus” personal use shall mean infrequent and limited travel outside of the direct commuting route from the employee’s residence to his or her place of work each day or outside of direct travel between work stops during the work day. Limited means travel of such a short distance that accounting for it is unreasonable. Examples: Stopping between two business stops for a meal, stopping at a convenience store or to use the restroom on the direct route while commuting to home or work, or while enoute on county business.

e. Persons not involved in County business will not be permitted to ride in County vehicles. Transporting family members or private citizens is not permitted. Exceptions may be granted by the BOCC for the county manager or County Attorney and for other employees by the county manager and County Attorney in special situations (ex: out of town conferences, business activity or visiting dignitaries, constitutional elected officials and their spouses to an official groundbreaking, attending funerals of County employees or community leaders, transport of visiting dignitaries, etc.). Permission must be approved in advance for County employees.

2. Authorization of the Take Home Vehicles

The approval for a take home vehicle shall be for the purpose of conducting county business, based on public purpose and demonstrable and beneficial needs, in accordance with IRS guidelines.

a. A county employee may be authorized a take home vehicle only when a take home vehicle request has been submitted to and approved by the Department Director, reviewed and approved annually by representatives from Finance and Accounting, Risk Management, Fleet Management, and by the County Manager for final approval. The employee’s Department Director will retain a copy of all approved requests and forward the original to Fleet Management. Fleet Management will forward copies to Risk Management, and Finance and Accounting.

b. A Take Home Vehicle Use Authorization Form must be completed and approved by the employee’s Department Director on or before October 1st of each year. Authorization shall be for a limited time not to exceed one year.

c. If any changes to the basis for the authorization occur during the year, a new authorization form must be resubmitted and re approved.

i. Department Directors shall only approve non-emergency take home vehicles when there is clear and convincing factual evidence, via a cost analysis, that the benefit of the use of a take-home vehicle serves a public purpose through the efficient delivery of county services. A copy of all documents used as a basis for authorization of a take-home vehicle shall be forwarded to the clerk. The clerk shall review the information to ensure the proposed use of the vehicle in this manner comports with the laws requiring all expenditures to be for a public purpose. If the clerk is not in agreement with the Department Director, the clerk shall notify the Department Director and the County Manager. The County Manager shall review the authorization form and, if he disagrees with the Clerk, request Board approval. However, the use of the vehicle shall not be approved for take-home use unless the Board of County Commissioners declares such use a public purpose.

ii. In declared emergency events, vehicle usage may be temporarily changed, by the Department Director to support County operations.

  1. Take Home Vehicle Use Classifications
    1. Emergency Response. This is a qualified commuting use, which is not IRS taxable. Vehicles assigned to this classification are used by authorized employees who are subject to frequent after hours emergencies, which require specialized equipment to make an immediate response to protect life and property. Qualified commuting use vehicles are specially equipped vehicles such as:
i. Clearly marked Fire and Rescue, and Law Enforcement vehicles.

ii. Clearly marked specialized repair trucks other than (vans and pickups) with equipment and tools.

iii. Clearly marked vans with repair parts, tools, and permanently affixed shelving.

iv. Clearly marked pickups with specialized equipment, signage, tools, and light bars.

* Note: Communication radios in a vehicle are not considered specialized equipment.

    1. Economic Benefit. This type use is a limited commuting use, which is an IRS taxable benefit. This classification is appropriate when an authorized employee is frequently required to travel on county business during his/her regular non-working hours and it is an economic benefit to Alachua County to provide a take-home county vehicle rather than reimburse an employee for use of a personal vehicle.
The break-even point is 12,820 annual miles. If an employee drives more than 12,820 miles for county business, excluding commuting use, it is more cost effective for the County to provide that employee a vehicle than it is to reimburse for use of a personal vehicle. Conversely, if the employee drives less than 12,820 miles annually for County business, then it is more cost effective for the County to reimburse the employee for personal use of their own vehicle (rather than provide a County vehicle). (See Take Home Vehicle Use Authorization Form). This analysis does not apply to vehicles that fall into the emergency classification.
  1. Use of Take Home Vehicles
Only authorized employees working within the scope and purpose of county business will use county vehicles.

a. Only authorized employees of Alachua County will be permitted to operate county vehicles.

b. Passengers in county vehicles must be engaged in county business. Family members who are not county employees shall not be a passenger unless prior supervisor authorization is requested and received as allowed in item e.

c. Authorized employees that are provided a take home vehicle are required to comply with this policy to ensure IRS rules are followed.

d. Only “de minimus” personal use is permitted.

e. Personal emergencies. If no personal vehicle is available and the Department Director is notified and approval is granted, the authorized employee may use the county vehicle to respond to personal immediate family emergencies within Alachua County.

f. No out of Alachua County travel, unless a travel authorization, and use of county vehicle has been approved by the Department Director.

g. If there is any doubt as to the requirements and responsibilities of this Take Home Policy the employee must consult with his/her Department Director before using the vehicle in the doubtful situation.

h. County owned take home vehicle usage shall comply with the Fuel Conservation Policy.

  1. Responsibilities
    1. Department Directors shall ensure:
i. Approval of a take-home vehicle is based on needs for after hours Emergency response, or to provide a public purpose by providing an economic benefit to Alachua County.

ii. Vehicle operators maintain a current Florida Driver’s License for the class of vehicle they are assigned to operate.

iii. All vehicle use is in accordance with this policy.

iv. Vehicles are maintained in accordance with the Alachua County Fleet Management Operating Procedures.

b. Authorized Employees shall:

i. Possess and maintain the proper Florida Driver’s License.

ii. Notify their supervisor and Department Director of any changes in their driver’s license (e.g. revocation, suspension). They shall also notify their supervisor and Department Director of any traffic citations, etc. received while operating a county-owned vehicle.

iii. Comply with all federal, state, and local laws relative to the operation of a county vehicle.

iv. They do not engage in distracted driving such as: using hand held electronic or communication devices while operating the vehicle. The use of vehicle mounted radios and hands free devices is allowed, but not encouraged. There will be no use of a keyboard associated with a telephone or computer by the driver while the vehicle is in motion. They cannot engage in any other activity which would take their attention from the safe operation of the vehicle while they are operating the vehicle. Employees operating emergency response vehicles who are required to communicate with other emergency vehicles and dispatch while responding to, or dealing with, an emergency call are exempted from the restriction.

v. Report all accidents or incidents in accordance with the Alachua County Safety Policy.

vi. Do not drive while under the influence of alcohol, prescription medicines that warn against operating a vehicle, sleepiness, or illegal drugs.

vii. Maintain the vehicle authorization form with up-to-date information, if any changes occur during the term of the vehicle authorization.

viii. Report and assume responsibility for all citations or moving violations while operating the county vehicle during work hours, and after work hours.

ix Do not use or allow the use of tobacco products in a county vehicle.

  1. Required Information For Take Home Vehicle Authorization Request
a. Home/Off Hours Physical Address – Where the vehicle will be parked. Address must include a city and a county.

b. Total daily commute miles – Round trip mileage from where the vehicle is parked during off hours to work place and from work place back to off hours parking address.

c. Number of miles past county line – if vehicle is to be driven out of Alachua County, the number of miles past Alachua County line to where vehicle is parked during off hours.

d. Rotation on call basis – if this is a rotational on-call basis describe the plan your department has for the rotation (attach to the Take Home Vehicle Authorization Request).

i. Type of authorization requested:

a. Emergency Response – documentation detailing the number and nature of call outs for one calendar year.

b. Economic Benefit – Is an assertion via an analysis of the cost vs. benefit to Alachua County using the current IRS mileage rate and detailed explanation of the reason as to why a personal vehicle cannot be driven to the regular work place and a county owned vehicle utilized only as needed for county business. The Economic Benefit Form shall be developed by the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s, Finance and Accounting Department, to ensure the information required by this policy is obtained and that the analysis of the economic benefit comports with the requirements that all expenditures serve a public purpose.




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