The City-County Council's Public Works Committee will vote on a proposal to charge the roughly 1,900 public safety personnel with take-home vehicles a monthly surcharge of $51, the cost of a 17-gallon tank of gas, once gas hits $3 a gallon.
The surcharge would remain in effect for at least 90 days or until gas reached $4 a gallon, when the monthly cost would increase to $68, the cost of a tank at the $4 rate.
Officers could opt out of the take-home vehicle program if they didn't want to pay.
Unless gas prices shoot back up to $3 any time soon, public safety officers aren't going to be paying a dime for personal use of their city-furnished vehicles. And even if prices do reach $3, it doesn't come close to paying the added costs taxpayers are forking over to allow police officers their favored take-home car policy. In other words, the taxpayers will continue to be screwed. Can we trade this lousy deal offered behind door number one for the deal behind door number two?
Here's the problem, which the Star article completely fails to discuss. Current city policy not only allows police officers unlimited free use of their take-home cars for personal use, but it also allows them to rent themselves out to private security companies using the uniforms, equipment and cars you furnish them. Private security companies make millions annually off of your uniformed public safety officers, and the officers make a decent second income to supplement their already good-paying, full-time police jobs. Not surprisingly, the proposal doesn't touch this sweet little deal. Other major cities wisely collect fees from the private security companies to share in the profit of rent-a-cop. It's obvious our Republican mayor and council put the interest of the FOP and the private security companies over the taxpaying-public. This is a missed opportunity to save taxpayers $1-2 million annually. This is what happens when you allow police officers to serve as city councilors.