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FRTA Did Not Properly Document the Use of Its Non-Revenue-Producing Vehicles by Its Employees.

Audit found that FRTA did not properly document vehicle information, which creates a greater risk of vehicles being used for non-business purposes without detection.

Table of Contents

Overview

FRTA did not properly document the use of its non-revenue-producing vehicles. Specifically, it had vehicle sign-out logs but did not retain all of them, and the logs did not include information such as the name and driver’s license expiration date of the employee who used the vehicle, the trip’s intended destination and purpose, the date and time the vehicle was picked up, the date and time it was returned, its license plate number, its description, its beginning odometer reading, its condition before and after use, any damage, and any maintenance issues identified during use, for every trip for all of its non-revenue-producing vehicles. According to FRTA management, its five non-revenue-producing vehicles were driven a combined total of 22,255 miles during the audit period. As a result of the lack of monitoring of use, there is a higher-than-acceptable risk that these vehicles may be used for non-business purposes without detection.

Authoritative Guidance

FRTA’s oversight agency, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), has a Motor Vehicles Policy, No. P-D0032-01, dated October 5, 2016, regarding the use of MassDOT’s non-revenue-producing vehicles by its staff. This policy requires MassDOT management to maintain a log that documents the name and driver’s license expiration date of the employee who used the vehicle, the trip’s intended destination and purpose, the date and time the vehicle was picked up, the date and time it was returned, its license plate number, its description, its beginning odometer reading, its condition before and after use, any damage, and any maintenance issues identified during use. Although FRTA is not required to follow this policy, it represents a best practice in vehicle fleet management that FRTA should follow because it will allow the agency to more effectively manage the maintenance and proper use of these vehicles.

In addition, Section C of the Massachusetts Statewide Records Retention Schedule states that records of “the management, repair, and use of state owned equipment, vehicles, and other property” must be retained for three years.

Reasons for Noncompliance

FRTA management stated that the agency had a written policy, distributed to all staff members, that required employees to request the use of non-revenue-producing vehicles from the general manager of FRTA’s contracted operating company, First Transit, Inc., and state their purpose for doing so. They said they believed the vehicles were adequately safeguarded from potential misuse because the general manager was the only staff member who had the keys when employees asked to sign out the non-revenue-producing vehicles. The general manager stated that in accordance with the advice of FRTA’s independent accountant, the agency did not maintain a log for any vehicle whose cost had been fully depreciated in its accounting records. In addition, FRTA had not established monitoring controls to ensure that its policies and procedures for the use of non-revenue-producing vehicles were properly adhered to.

Recommendations

  1. FRTA should establish policies and procedures, consistent with those established by MassDOT, that require a log for all its non-revenue-producing vehicles that documents the following:
    a.  the name and driver’s license expiration date of the employee who used the vehicle
    b.  the date and time the vehicle was picked up
    c.  the date and time the vehicle was returned
    d.  the vehicle’s license plate number
    e.  the vehicle description
    f.   the trip’s intended destination and purpose
    g.  the beginning odometer reading
    h.  the condition of the vehicle before and after use
    i.   any damage
    j.   any maintenance issues identified during use
  2. FRTA should ensure that these policies and procedures include monitoring controls to ensure that they are adhered to.

Auditee’s Response

The FRTA has a vehicle log in each vehicle already tracking the information required. The FRTA will develop a written policy for its non-revenue producing vehicles that will incorporate best practices from other RTAs and MassDOT. Our written policy (and procedures) will continue to include a log for those non-revenue-producing vehicles, including date of use, name, purpose of trip, beginning and ending mileage. Our policy will include monitoring controls to ensure compliance. The development of this log will be consistent with our current policy. All employees who have the potential to operate a non-revenue vehicle have licenses on file with the FRTA and are listed on our insurance policy in addition to getting checked monthly on the [Massachusetts Office of Inspector General’s] exclusion list.

Auditor’s Reply

Based on its response, FRTA is taking measures to address our concerns in this area.

Date published: October 5, 2018
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