New County Vehicle Policy Means Cuyahoga Taxpayers will No Longer Pay for Tickets Issued to County Employees

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CLEVELAND — Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald announced today that he has approved a new county vehicle policy that requires employees to take responsibility for their own parking and traffic tickets.

In previous years, too often, county government could not identify the employee responsible for parking tickets or for traffic infractions detected by automated cameras. In fact, the county eventually paid $22,240 to the city of Cleveland to cover the cost of tickets racked up by unidentified county drivers from 2000 through 2010.

No more. “The free rides are over,” FitzGerald said. “From now on, county employees are going to have to start paying their parking tickets and traffic tickets, just like everyone else. Taxpayers will no longer be footing the bill.”

FitzGerald is also overseeing other reforms of county vehicle use, including reductions in the number of employees permitted to take vehicles home and in the overall size of the county fleet. The county is planning to auction at least 26 vehicles as part of a broader effort to dispose of surplus county equipment. The auction is expected to take place near the end of October. Also, the number of take-home vehicles has been reduced from 23 to 8, not including sheriff’s vehicles.

A key reason that county government sometimes ended up paying the cost of employees’ traffic tickets was bad record keeping on county vehicle use. Managers sometimes had a difficult time knowing for sure which employee was responsible for a particular ticket.

The new policy directs supervisors to keep logs of when employees are using vehicles assigned to their department or division. In fact, according to the new policy, if the employee responsible for a ticket can’t be identified, the supervisor will be held responsible for the cost.

“When most people get a ticket, they either pay up or take their case to court,” FitzGerald said. “From now on, we are holding our employees to the same standard.”