Driving your dollars: 221 publicly owned cars on streetsPublished 12:27am Sunday, July 15, 2012
The sheriff’s office’s Neighborhood Watch coordinator and public information officer, Emily Ham, has a take-home unit, a mid-2000s model Ford Crown Victoria.
“When we go out on big arrests or something, she goes out and does photographs for the arrest, and she uses it for Neighborhood Watch,” Mayfield said.
Ham’s county-owned vehicle is also used for travel to public relations events during the day, Mayfield said.
Chief of Staff Col. Debbie Gee has a unit she can use, but Gee usually chooses to drive her own vehicle, Mayfield said.
The car assigned to Gee is also used in the transport of prisoners.
The next largest fleet of vehicles in the area belongs to the Natchez Transit System, which has 33 vehicles.
Those vehicles include trolleys, buses, vans and even a tow truck, however detailed information on how each vehicle is used was not provided despite a written request to the city.
Natchez Transit provides transit service seven days a week, with trips starting as early as 4:30 a.m., Director Sabrena Bartley said.
Bartley has said each vehicle is used every week, but the vehicles are rotated in use to extend the life of the vehicles. Transit must, by law, have one backup vehicle for every five vehicles, she said. Two employees — Jerry Richardson, mechanic and maintenance, and Louis Davis, transportation coordinator — take their vehicles home daily because they are on call 24 hours a day.
The city does not buy the transit vehicles; they are purchased through federal funding, Bartley said.
In most cases, determining which cars go home and which stay parked after 5 p.m. is left up to the department head.
But providing a take-home vehicle to certain employees is a necessity, Mayor Brown said.
It’s essential, Brown said, that the supervisor of Natchez Public Works and an on-call foreman have a vehicle after hours.
“If there is an emergency, it would be not be practical for an employee to drive their personal vehicle to the office and then drive their work vehicle to the emergency,” Brown said.
Adams County Board of Supervisors President Darryl Grennell said it’s not the job of the board to pick and choose who has a car.
“The board of supervisors doesn’t go and say, ‘This employee or that one should take a vehicle home,” he said. “That would be in non-compliance with the unit system (of government).”
For that reason, Grennell said the supervisors depend on the department heads to provide them with the information of how many cars they need.
In the city, take-home vehicles are issued to:
• Natchez Public Works Supervisor Justin Dollar (2012 Dodge Ram) and the on-call foreman (2012 Ford F-350).
• Eight Water Works employees — City Engineer and Water Works Superintendent David Gardner (2006 Ford Crown Victoria); Assistant City Engineer David Atkins (2008 Ford F-250); Water Plant Manager Lance Webb (1993 Crown Victoria); Maintenance Supervisor Charles Gamberi (2010 Ford F-150); and four foreman (Ford trucks from the 2000s).
• City Surveyor Tony Moon (2001 Ford Crown Victoria).
• Traffic Director Curtis Norton (1999 Dodge Caravan) and traffic signal technician Steve Lazarus (2002 Chevrolet S-10).
• Code enforcement officers Willie B. Jones (1998 Ford Crown Victoria) and Anita Smith (1998 Chevrolet Lumina).
• Building Inspector Fred Gallar (1999 Ford Taurus); mechanical inspector Forest Flynn (1997 Ford F-150); and electrical inspector Jerry Rouse (2001 Ford Ranger).