STANISLAUS COUNTY -- The Housing Authority of the County of Stanislaus may cut back the number of managers who are assigned take-home vehicles.
The proposed change comes after The Bee reported in April that the Housing Authority assigned take-home vehicles to eight managers under the rationale that they are on call to respond to after-hour emergencies.
But The Bee reported that just three managers responded to about a dozen calls for service from agency tenants on weekends and after normal business hours for such problems as a flooded kitchen or backed-up plumbing. The five other managers did not respond to any calls.
The Bee reviewed vehicle logs from 2011.
"When things are brought to our attention, we take a look at it," agency Executive Director Bill Fagan said Wednesday. "If you need to make an adjustment, then you make an adjustment. It's good business practices."
Fagan will discuss the vehicle policy today during the Housing Authority's board of commissioners meeting.
The agency provides 1,700 units of affordable housing, relying on the county for $5.6 million of its $43.5 million annual budget. It also has received millions from the city of Modesto via the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program.
Under Fagan's proposal, only the authority's four property managers and its deputy director of asset management would have take-home vehicles. Fagan and the deputy directors of finance and housing choice vouchers would give up their 2011 Toyota Priuses.
All of the authority's top managers have had take-home vehicles since at least 1998.
Fagan said the Housing Authority conducted its own review of the take-home vehicles, looking at 60 days of vehicle logs and talking with other housing authorities regarding their take-home vehicle practices. He said he expected the change to be effective by the end of this month.
The Bee's review revealed that some managers were not putting many miles on their cars. For instance, the deputy director of finance put about 4,900 miles on her take-home Prius during 2011.
Fagan said the Housing Authority also has tightened its review of vehicle records.
The Bee found that some of the vehicle logs were missing or incomplete, and there were no vehicle logs for the deputy director of asset management. But Fagan said the deputy director of finance now is reviewing the vehicle records for completeness.
The Bee review found no evidence of fraud or misuse of the vehicles, such as employees using them while on vacations.
The board of commissioners meets at 5:30 p.m. at the Housing Authority, 1701 Robertson Road, Modesto.
Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2316.