Schenectady officials to give up city-owned car use to save money
It seems that Schenectady's top police officials will have to find a new way to get to work, now that the Mayor is implementing a new car policy. Our Lori Chung explains why their costly commutes will not be their responsibility.
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SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- "It's creating a public image problem, and it's just an expense we believe we can reduce, and do it in a more efficient manner," said Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy.
That is why Mayor McCarthy said he is pumping the brakes on a perk that has been long enjoyed by the top police officials in the city, now requiring that they give up the cars assigned to them, and use their own wheels instead.
"It's been on the books for a long time, where travel outside of the city of Schenectady requires the approval of the city council and people got away from that over the years," noted Mayor McCarthy.
Police Commissioner Wayne Bennett, Chief Mark Chaires, and all four assistant chiefs live outside of Schenectady, making their daily commutes to and from work, more costly. McCarthy said that factored into the new city vehicle use policy, which reads in part that, "City vehicles are not to leave the city limits, except with prior knowledge and permission of their Department Head and the Mayor."
"We're in financial crisis right now I would say, I would make it that plain," said Vincent Riggi, Schenectady City Councilman.
Councilman Vincent Riggi said the electricity saw a $5 million shortfall last year. He said that cutting out the daily expense of gas, tolls and maintenance for the police department's command staff is a good start to rebuilding the coffers.
"It's a nice settlement to have, but the way things are right now, we just can't afford to give that entitlement anymore," Riggi said.
Mayor McCarthy said he sold the car the city reserved for his use, scoring nearly $9,000 for the budget. As for police officials, they will have access to a pool of cars during business hours when the new policy kicks in on September 1.