What is the Policy on car Maintenance for the city Vehicles?

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What is the policy on car maintenance for the city vehicles? There isn’t one. A long time ago I asked about the maintenance of the fleet of cars for the city.. There has been some question here about who is maintaining the city cars. These are some very good questions. When if ever has this work gone out for bid? Why only one garage is getting the work. What is the policy of the city in regards to repair of cars? When does it become to expensive to repair these cars? If the policy is anything like the policy for computers and other equipment, then there isn’t a policy. I remember at one council meeting the Building and Engineering talking about having 5 or 6 cars towed from the parking lot. These cars came from the police department, when they received new cars they took them over to the Building and Engineering department for them to use. They were in such bad shape that the department head had the cars towed away.. The Building and Engineering director said at another time that his department paid for all the repairs of these cars given to his department from the police. The police department when they get new cars dump their cars off on any department that can use them. That department then has to pay out of their department budget for the cost of repairing them.

My question, why not  look at the cars before we dump them off on another department and see if they are even worth keeping in the first place. Why is the department who has received these garbage cars made to pay for the repairs of these cars out of that departments budget. If these cars came from another department, and the car is on its last leg then I think the making a department who did not want them in the first place to pay for them is asinine. Why would you keep spending money on something that is not worth it? Before any department, dumps their garbage cars on another department they must have them looked at? They have to get a detailed assessment as to what the car might need how much it will cost, and approximately how  long the car will last. If a car can get  a couple more years of use out of it. Then transfer it to another department. There comes a time when it is not worth the expenses to keep a piece of equipment. We all know this we have had to replace equipment in our own homes we have had to look at the price of repairing compared to replacing and how long that equipment will last after it’s repaired.

 

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33 thoughts on “What is the Policy on car Maintenance for the city Vehicles?”

  1. A few years ago my husband, who is a retired mechanic, was very concerned when he heard that two police vehicles were in the shop to have new engines installed. He questioned as to whether the PD had a vehicle maintenance plan; as cars do not usually need new engines unless they have been neglected. Most common example:running out of oil because regular oil changes were not done. My husband has maintained our family members vehicles and we even have one that has almost 175,000 miles on it and is 17 years old. He volunteered to make up a maintenance plan and keep track of what PD cars needed what. He was just blown off.

    If a Dearborn Heights resident is willing to volunteer to keep track of vehicle maintenance for the city why was he just blown off. This would not cost the city one cent and would in fact, save the city thousands of dollars. The problem is that certain city leaders and department heads don’t give a bat’s bum because it isn’t their money. However, watch them jump up and down when their paychecks might be affected.

    I voted for the Headlee Over-ride but with much consternation as it did not have a sunset clause in it and some city leaders and department heads should be booted out for the way they have handled our money. I also feel that it will be back to business as usual now that the Headlee Over-ride has given them more money.

    I have faith in our city workers, PD and FD; its their bosses that need to be let go.

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  2. thanks kathy i just want everyone to look at this with their eyes open with veh and other ideas. i feel you are going to be going through this once you are elected and perhaps you can be our voice !!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  3. Sad Resident

    Oh I do understand that and I am not saying that you are wrong in your thinking, and it well might be a good idea to look at all the rest in the city I think the idea to send out a questioner to other shops is a good one. I was just saying that I do not think councilman Berry would have made such a statement if he did not do his own home work.. I respect your opinion and I hope that some council member will pick up on the idea and try it..

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  4. kathy since you are a small business owner i felt that you wold understand that ALL business doesnt go to one all i was asking is for the city to take a look at other auto business within our city just to see their costs to save money. once again this is not personal – just looking to give others a chance. i know everyone has their opinion i respect yours but this is mine

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  5. i agree with you but the bottom line is when was the last time anyone besides the above mentioned was given the same chance to get the business how do we know that there isnt someone cheaper unless we ask. just because one council person says so doesnt really cut it with me

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  6. Before I write anything I should say that I am partial to small business owners because I am one I understand how hard it is..

    At the October 25 CCM councilman Berry said he went through the invoices line by line and went to Matts to thank him. He said that Matts was well below the market on Labor cost and parts. Not knowing anything about the price of these things I could not say and would not even attempt to say if that is true or not. I’m sure that councilman Berry would not say such a thing if he had not done some homework on the subject and checked the prices his self. Some of you might find it hard to believe that a business would do such a thing, but being a small business owner myself we do these things for two reasons. We want the volume of customers, and it is good business practice to do if you are working with the city you do business in. Word of mouth is a very powerful thing. What they might give up on profit from the city they will make up for with referrals. We do this all the time in our store a happy customer will refer many, many customers to you just like an unhappy one will do.

    We ask our council to take a look at these things and I think at least one has, and he has said that there is nothing wrong with Matts that is good enough for me. We’ve elected them at some point we have to trust their judgment I’ am going to trust councilman Berry’s judgement on this matter.

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  7. MATTS GIVES THE CITY 50% OFF ON LABOR WHICH IS NEWS TO ME — TRY LOOKING AT HIS INFLATED COSTS OF THE CHEAP PARTS HE PUTS ON THE VEH. I THINK THE CITY SHOULD SEND OUT QUESTIONAIRES TO OTHER AUTO BUSINESSES WITHIN OUR CITY TO SEE WHAT THE AVERAGE COSTS OF REPAIRS WOULD BE. THE POINT I WAS TRYING TO MAKE IS HE HAS ALWAYS DONE THE CARS AND HOW DO WE AS RESIDENTS KNOW THAT IT CANT BE DONE CHEAPER WHEN WE HAVE NOT EVEN TRIED. I KNOW FIRST HAND THAT THE QUALITY OF HIS WORK IS POOR. THIS IS NOT PERSONAL IN NO WAY IT IS BASED ON FACT ALONE .

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  8. listen up residents; PD and the rest of the city SHOULD use Matts because he gives the city 50% discount on labor… none of the other repair garages do that. Some department heads think Matts is expensive but after dropping their cars off at another location later learn that they would have save money by going to Matts. Most of the other city depts get there used cars from the PD. You citizens should know that after a PD uses these cars they are just that ‘used cars’. Sometimes its just cheaper in the long run to purchase a new car in stead of a used police vehicle. So going out for bids on auto repairs is not a possiblity / cant be done / your costs come from labor… cant bid auto repairs people! By the way a city fleet mgr would also be a waist of your money. PD can be resposible for there cars as would the FD for theres…etc…

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  9. marge this is NOT another department this is one person — also what are your plans for plan A — no headlee / millage and plan B with it — thought we were going to see this sometime ago ??? so are you waiting for the allowance to come to see how it will be divided up ??? this is amazing 6 months ago the council and mayor had to of seen this comming like a train wreck

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  10. linda this was all done by an officer back in the day years and years ago ( at least 10- 15 yrs ago ) he was considered a vehicle maintenance officer did all the work himself except purchasing veh ( this was done only by the chief, mayor , and city council) if you were to go back and check you can see the budget increase after the last officer took over the position. Due to his lack of mechanical abilities he became nothing more then a highly paid porter.The duties of maintaining the fleet then was then put on the P.O.A.M. president who already had enough responsibilities handling hit and run investigations. this is the reason why the cars are falling apart and our budget is out of control.Placing someone back into the vehicle maintenance position who has interest and knowledge about cars could be a cost saver.

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  11. I did call a council member gave the address to them and told them what is going on.. There are ordinances that are suppose to deal with this let’s see if anything will be done about it.

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  12. We are downsizing people because we are in a financial disaster in the City and your talking about starting up another department. I just don’t get it. If it’s not broke don’t fix it. That’s my opinion.

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  13. An earlier post complained that the Personnel Manager was not experienced enough to manage healthcare benefits. The same probably holds true for the people managing their fleets.

    Right now, fleet management is probably done redundantly across departments. Because it is probably an “add-on” to a person’s “other” job, probably no one managing a fleet has ever had experience as a Fleet Manager or even in vehicle maintenance (other than with their personal car—if they have a car).

    A professional Fleet Manager could (for the entire City)…
    — document the existing fleet
    — resolve immediate problems
    — evaluate vehicle needs
    — negotiate vehicle purchases
    — monitor vehicle usage including mileage
    — collect driver feedback
    — negotiate vehicle maintenance contracts
    — make sure vehicles are maintained properly and on time
    — track vehicle performance (need for maintenance, need for a different kind of vehicle)
    — dispose of vehicles that are no longer cost effective to keep
    — engage in forward planning

    I suppose it would be up to the City to determine whether that kind of professional management could save them money.

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  14. KATHY CAN YOU FIND OUT WHY A HOME OWNER )()*&* DOXTATOR GETS TO USE HIS BACK YARD TO STORE TRUCKS.LANDSCAPEING EQUIPMENT IN HIS BACKYARD.HE HAS MOUNDS OF DIRT TRAILERS AND JUST PUT UP A HUGE TENT TO COVER HIS EQUIPMENT.I HAVE CALLED BUT HAVE GOT NO ANSWER. I THOUGHT WE HAD A ORDINANCE ON THIS.ON OVER SIZE TRUCKS, CAMPERS, BOATS, ETC.THANK YOU AND GOOD LUCK NOVEMBER 8.YES VOTE FOR YOU HERE.

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  15. I believe the person who made that statement is Councilwoman Marge Horvath. I was at the meeting at the Justice Center and heard her say that.

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  16. Private
    You made a post about the fireman’s contract. Someone called you on it and said you should get your facts straight. People have opinions. They call things the way they see them. Individually it is up to the people reading this blog to find out truth from fiction. The truth page makes you think . I spent alot of time on the numbers. I have taken alot of heat about my conclusions. Kathy starts a conversation with something that actually happened. People take it from there. I wish the council would read the blog…maybe it would force their heads out of the sand. Good job Kathy. Keep the people thinking.

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  17. Private

    What information is incorrect, exaggerated or misleading if you will please inform me.. How can information gathered from the council agendas, council meetings, and FOIA from the city be incorrect. The information is verified with council members or department heads themselves. I do not know who you are fact checking with but I know I have always done my home work here.. Please be specific in what you are referring to any time I have made a mistake I have corrected it and said I was misinformed. You are not treated like a step chile here if you disagree I am fair to everyone as you can see by my putting up your comment and many comments like yours who disagree with me. I write on the blog from my perspective I have never hidden that fact. You are Entitled to your opinion just like I am and the facts are all stated here I just tell the other side of the story not the watered down version of the administration. What you are saying is not correct and I do not appreciate it If you want to be honest the only thing that has been misleading is this Mayor and his administration.

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  18. Bitsy08,

    I have to agree with that council person. I follow this blog and believe that it should be called the semi-truth page. I have discovered that a lot of the information that is posted is incorrect, exaggerated or misleading and all facts are not stated. It is one sided and if someone does not agree you become the step child. I do not agree with everything this administration is doing, but a lot of the problems started with R. Canfield and this mayor is taking the heat. Remember the two library tax, Young Center and the over sized police station were all created under Canfield.

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  19. Looking at the agenda and back up info for the council meeting Tuesday. The city is going to hire Plante and Moran to take over watching out for the healthcare benefits. Before the cuts department heads earn between 76 K and 85K yet it would appear they always need an outside consultant or firm to assist them. Makes me wonder how qualified these people really are. The city needs a complete overhaul. Starting with the individual businesses within the city. Does the city have the right people to do the job? Should the city be in that business? To me the city is in complete disaray wasting money hand over fist. This needs to change. Why is it a highly paid personnel director can’t manage healthcare benefits? Why was an outside vendor required for the NSP program? The city is to the point it is not providing the services it should. You can’t just hack and whack and expect any good to come of it. If the Mayor and the Council cannot do the overhaul hire a firm to assist them. The status quo is not good enough for the city to move forward.

    Voting yes to save the city is a vote for the status quo. Hack and whack is not saving the city. The city need major changes or it is doomed to fail.

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  20. So you all want to pay a fulltime fleet manager now for used cars? I think I would rather have my money spent elsewhere thank you.

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  21. I have been in this city for the past 25 years and swapping of cars is an old practice among all cities. Having a history with cars and the business I can say that it is probably a smart decision. I would rather have some money come out of the budget even if repairs cost a couple thousand dollars a year then have $25,000 or more come out of the budget for a new car. I believe under the agreement with the city tow company all city cars are towed for free so that is not an issue.

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  22. Kathy,
    I don’t think you should take the councilman’s/woman’s statement personally. Don’t forget, there are many people on here stating their opinions and “facts”. I’m guessing that’s what they are referring to.

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  23. well first of all thank you kathy for noticing all the questions in the last few days requarding the veh as to questions as to getting bids for veh why not get bids for all the other insurance such as car workmans comp structural ect as we all know that shopping around could be very beneficial . when was this last done IF EVER ????? my main concern is to give other auto shops within our city limits a chance to bid for business. it is unfair that one shop gets it all — MAKES ME WONDER WHY as for a person in charge of the fleet why not offer it to a retired officer since they have had background checks already. i am sure one could do it part time since there are a few that had done vehicle maintaince in the past prior TO THEM CUTTING THE POSITION YEARS AGO – prior to our city being in crisis i think offering the position to a retired officer with just an hourly wage ( due to the fact that they already have benefits) would be in the best interest of our city – due to the fact that the justice center already has an auto repair garage in the building that is not being used === just a thought

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  24. Bitsy08

    I am not surprised that a council member would say that. To my knowledge there are only two council members that even bother to come here and see what the people are saying.. I would like to know who said that because if it was one of the two I would be very surprised. Considering that I fact check with one or both of them on many things I have written here. Information on this blog is from council meetings, agendas, and FOIA nothing is exaggerated in what I write. Well everyone is entitled to their opinion I would ask that if this council member feels that way that they take the time to write here and let me know the errors of my ways.

    I agree with you on going out for bid it should be standard practice to have all contracts go out for bid when they are up. Just look at the IT in the city no contract all of these years and still nothing. The Mayor keeps saying that he is waiting for Dearborn Stop waiting Mr. Mayor plenty of people who could do the job and bid on it based on the study that was done over a year ago..

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  25. A good Fleet Manager can probably earn more than their own salary in what they save.

    The City Administration sure seems to have an underabundance of specialists. It’s redundant and wasteful to have every department manage its own fleet.

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  26. I attended a meeting and one of the council members attended. I brought up The DH Truth Page as another avenue for information and this council person said it wasn’t a good place to get information because there were too many exaggerations on it. I, for one, am glad I found this page. It has certainly opened my eyes to what’s going on in our city. I had no idea. I think it’s up to all of us to read other people’s opinions and weed out what is truth and that which we question.

    As to the city car maintenance contract, NO ONE company should have a lock on ANY contract within the city for any length of time. Bids should be sent out and contracts awarded. When that contract is up, bids should be sent out again. I believe that every once in awhile, those same contracts should be awarded to someone else – just to keep them all honest.

    The more I read about things going on in the city, the more I’m coming to the opinion that we need to broom ALL the council members – AND THE MAYOR TO SAY THE LEAST – and start over. I think they’ve gotten too complacent with our money. I think we need to start over with some new, fresh ideas and hopefully, people who will hold this mayor accountable. That is, unless we all get together after the November 8 ballot and start a recall compaign. Remember. We git rid of him, we get rid of KK. Just passing the HO is not going to do the trick. We still have the same people running the city.

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  27. Linda

    Not only do we not have a fleet Manager we do not have anyone monitoring the miles put on these cars, we do not know where they take them.. Over the past 6 or 7 years you have had several department heads and deputy department heads taking these cars home at night. There is no account for the amount of mile put on them when they have them after working hours. It is unbelievable to me that this has been the way things have been conducted in the city for years and years.. NO Questions asked. Unfortunately this is not a job that the council can do this is administrative, and when the council finally had the cars parked the Mayor accused them of micro managing.. Day to Day operation Manuals that would be a NO. The vehicles are transferred to another department when new vehicles are purchased by the city. Most transferred vehicles are from the police department. Those cars last about 2 or 3 years from what I have been told.

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  28. I understood that they used to auction them off but maybe they dump them of in the dpw lot .Someone needs to go and look at that property it is a dump.When I questioned about this same thing I was told that they fix alot of them and auction them off I may be wrong. They have a repair man also.

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  29. I’d turn the question around and ask it this way…

    What is the procedure for providing a City Department (Police included) with new vehicles?

    Does the City have a Fleet Manager?

    – – – – –

    Do departments evaluate their existing fleet and fleet needs every year? If not every year, then when?

    Do they request new vehicles every year? If not every year, then when?

    Who provides new vehicles? Who services them during the warranty period?

    Who services them after the warranty period? If it is not the Dealer, when was the last time those contracts were put out for bid?

    Who makes sure that regular maintenance is performed on a regular and timely basis? This should be someone’s job. The person performing this job should do a cost/benefit analysis on how long it is reasonable to maintain a vehicle that is in service.

    When and under what circumstances are vehicles transferred among departments?

    How is a vehicle disposed of when it is determined to be of no further use?

    DOES THE CITY HAVE PROCEDURE MANUALS FOR DAY TO DAY OPERATIONS (OR DO THEY JUST RUN THINGS BY THE SEAT OF THEIR PANTS)?

    [I’m sure other folks can think of even more questions.]

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