LOS ANGELES - It's a gas pump perk that many of us wish we had. A FOX 11 investigation found LA County employees racked up personal miles in their home-assigned cars.
FOX 11 put in a Public Records Act request for county-home-assigned vehicles for the years 2020 and 2021. Those were both pandemic years, and there were months when the county was under a stay-at-home order.
But even so, FOX 11's investigation found instances where the county seemed to ignore its own policy. On top of that, there were dozens of examples of home-assigned vehicles in 2020 and 2021 that went to employees who racked up personal miles but rarely used them for business.
One example, a staff with the County's Board of Supervisors used the county vehicle for almost 26,000 personal miles but only drove it for 670 business miles. FOX 11 sent these findings to the government transparency group, Open the Books.
The group's CEO, Adam Andrzejewski, crunched the numbers and said the county could be shelling out more than $1 million a year on cars that are used mostly for commutes – not so much for business.
"LA County has a lot of problems, and every dime that goes into a taxpayer-provided vehicle from supervisor over at the board or they are a chief of staff or employees, that is a dollar that is not being spent on the problems in LA County," Andrzejewski said.
Below are some of the highlights of the data collected by FOX 11 on how much a Los Angeles County staff drove in their work vehicles:
- Board of Supervisor staff: 11,277 personal miles, 0 business miles
- District Attorney's Office staff: 22,227 personal miles, 137 business miles
- District Attorney's Office staff: 18,822 personal miles, 233 business miles
Los Angeles County could not tell FOX 11 how many fill-ups were paid for by the taxpayer, saying it varied by department.
The department confirmed that county policy stipulates county vehicles should only be assigned to those who drive more than 5,000 business miles a year but said most of the supervisors' field deputies get them but did not elaborate on why.
"Right now, taxpayers in L.A. County, they're just not getting respect. The county needs to crack down under existing rules in place and hold the agencies accountable to those rules," Andrzejewski said.