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Schwarzenegger Digs Into Suggestion Box For Savings

Governor cuts state vehicle fleet after complaints of abusearnoldschwarzenegger

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger continues his crusade against government waste, announcing Friday that he is using his executive authority to order reductions in the state vehicle fleet, among other cost cutting measures. This announcement comes as a response to suggestions received via the state’s new Waste Watchers website. Approximately 90 reports of unnecessary vehicles and home storage permits for them have been received since the site’s launch about a month ago.

“Any waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars is absolutely unacceptable. If we find it happening, we will take immediate action to correct it,” said Schwarzenegger. “Today I am taking action to get rid of waste and abuse in the state’s vehicle fleet and ordering my Administration to reduce the fleet by 15 percent, eliminate all wasteful home storage permits, and sell surplus cars at our state garage sale next month. I want to thank all the vigilant Californians who have submitted concerns on the Waste Watchers Web site. My staff will continue to review your submissions to ensure state government operates efficiently and is accountable to the people.”

The Waste Watchers website can be found here : .

In addition to eliminating unused and misused vehicles, the order requires investigations into further cost-cutting measures aimed at creating a leaner, greener fleet. The order applies to agencies and departments under the governor’s direct executive authority and requires the following:

• No new non-emergency vehicles may be purchased.
• Surplus vehicles must be identified by August 10 and sent to a state
“garage sale.”
• By October 1, all agencies must submit plans to be completed by April
1, 2010 outlining what vehicles they own, who can drive them, why they are
needed, how they can be shared effectively, who gets to take them home
(such as safety inspectors and emergency responders), and how they will
retain the newest, most efficient vehicles.
• The director of the Department of General Services (DGS) will transfer
vehicles between agencies to make the most use of efficient models.
• The process will be made public.

Other state entities are encouraged enact similar policies. Savings due to these efforts are estimated at $24.1 million.

Schwarzenegger says the site has also received many other useful suggestions resulting in savings ranging from hundreds to millions of dollars.

In his July 17 address, the governor cited an incident involving the improper purchase of a television set, for which the state has now been reimbursed in the amount of $500.

“And think about this” reminded Schwarzenegger, “we have more than 200,000 state employees. That kind of watchdogging can really add up.”

His address Friday is only the latest tactic in Schwarzenegger’s ongoing quest to get Sacramento’s budget to add up. Last month, Schwarzenegger issued an order directing all state departments to develop and submit to the Department of Finance plans to decrease their future spending on contracts and purchases by at least 15 percent. It also called for the elimination of funding for contracts entered into by state agencies and departments after March 1 for all goods and services, excluding those necessary for public safety.

So far, the state’s efforts have not been without success. On Monday, the governor’s office announced that DGS has saved $27 million through the renegotiation of 1,200 state commercial leases. The program responsible hopes to eventually save $80 to $100 million.