District of Columbia:

Private Use of Official Vehicles

GGD-99-50: Published: Apr 9, 1999. Publicly Released: Apr 9, 1999.

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Bernard L. Ungar
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the District of Columbia's compliance with Public Law 105-100, focusing on whether: (1) any District employees were authorized, as of September 1998, to take home official vehicles; and (2) these employees were aware of the statutory restriction on using District government vehicles for other than official business, including home-to-work transportation.

GAO noted that: (1) all of the 46 District entities reported to have vehicles as of September 30, 1997, now report compliance with the prohibition against using appropriated funds for government vehicles taken home by employees; (2) in response to GAO's September 1998 questionnaire to or interviews with the 46 District entities that had vehicles under their control, 37 entities reported that they did not authorize anyone to take home a public vehicle; (3) the remaining 9 entities reported that 44 employees were authorized to take home a public vehicle; (4) subsequently, 8 of the 9 entities told GAO that 21 employees who were still authorized as of September 1998 to take home public vehicles were no longer doing so; (5) the other entity, the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA), which had 23 employees authorized to take home public vehicles, planned to comply with the law by funding the cost of vehicles taken home with nonappropriated funds; (6) GAO concurred that the statutory restriction does not prohibit DCHA from spending its nonappropriated funds on vehicles that are taken home; (7) GAO also contacted the 10 entities identified in the District's Public Vehicle Report as allowing vehicles to be taken home as of September 30, 1997, about steps they had taken to inform their affected employees of the restriction on this practice; (8) officials at these 10 entities said that they had notified theirs staff of the change in the law; (9) 21 of the 22 District employees GAO contacted who were authorized to take home vehicles as of September 30, 1997, were aware of the restriction; and (10) the remaining employee said that his entity had not notified him of the change in policy, but when he became aware of it from GAO's survey, he stopped taking home a vehicle.

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