Gloversville mayor’s mileage reports inconsistent
GLOVERSVILLE – Mayor Dayton King, who uses a city vehicle, reported his mileage for two months last year but kept up with mileage reports the first three months of this year, according to city records.
The records, obtained from a Freedom of Information Law request by The Leader-Herald, show the Ford Explorer used by the mayor was driven 4,441 miles from Aug. 6, 2012, to May 1 of this year.
The mayor only filled out mileage logs in August and September last year and January through March so far this year, records show.
The mayor in 2011 said he would follow the vehicle-use policy established by the city council in October of that year. He admits he hasn’t kept up with the logs, but says he now is reporting the mileage.
Between the mayor’s last mileage log on Sept. 7, 2012, and the start of 2013, a total of 2,086 miles are unaccounted for, according to the mileage logs.
“I have probably been inconsistent with the logs, but at all times, I have been using it for city business,” King said. “There are many times where I may be in a meeting in Albany or a conference in Lake Placid where there is no doubt I may stop at a grocery store or a place to grab some food, but I don’t use it for other personal use to either joy ride or any nonsense like that; it doesn’t happen.”
King said now he is keeping up with his daily logs of the city vehicle he uses and has offered to put a GPS tracker on it to identify where it was and how many miles have been put on it.
He attributed recent criticism of his vehicle use to the election year. He said when Mayor Timothy Hughes was in office, he would put his children in the vehicle and use it for personal use. King claims because Hughes was “friendly” with certain council members, it wasn’t an issue.
A council resolution dated Oct. 25, 2011, established a comprehensive vehicle-use policy by allowing city vehicles only to be used for official business and not as additional compensation or an added benefit for city employees or officials.
When the resolution was passed, King said he would follow the changes.
“I’m ready to adhere to this personally,” King said at an October 2011 council meeting.
King said today he is up to date with his mileage logs.
All of the logs and requests are supposed to be included in the monthly Common Council audit, according to the 2011 resolution establishing the policy.
Fourth Ward Councilwoman Ellen Anadio, who takes care of the monthly Common Council audit along with Councilman-At-Large James Robinson, said there was an eight-month period when they didn’t receive the logs from the mayor, but he recently has been providing them because they have became “more demanding.”
She said Robinson was speaking with the mayor regarding the need to provide the information and were keeping the issue internal, which is why it didn’t publicly come out until recently at a council meeting.
“He wasn’t submitting his mileage on a regular basis and I had to go to him to make sure he submitted his mileage report in a timely manner,” Robinson said. “I kept asking him month after month to submit his miles and he just wasn’t, and certain individuals are getting very upset over it.”
He said the mayor has been getting better keeping up with his mileage logs, but the recent audit between April 18 and May 23 didn’t have a mileage log from the mayor.
“We look for his mileage just like we do any other department head,” Robinson said.
With the exception of police and fire vehicles, three city vehicles are available for officials’ use. The mayor can use a Ford Explorer, the city assessor can use a Ford Crown Victoria, and the DPW director can use a Ford F-150.
Department of Public Works Director Kevin Jones didn’t have mileage logs for last year because he wasn’t appointed until June. Any use of his vehicle was minimal to haul brush from City Hall to Beaver Street, according to city documents.
According to documents, Jones used his city vehicle in March for safety training in Saratoga and April for a meeting with state Department of Transportation in Utica.
His vehicle also was used by other city officials twice this year.
City Assessor Joni Dennie had mileage logs for last year and this year, up to May.
Her vehicle use was primarily for smaller trips to the bank or county building, records show. Dennie documented when she encountered mechanical errors with her vehicle, including in May 2012, when it wouldn’t start.
The assessor started using her new city vehicle in April of this year.
Members of the Common Council said they have been fielding questions and concerns from city residents about city officials, including the mayor, using city vehicles for personal reasons.
As a result, 1st Ward Councilwoman Robin Wentworth said at a council meeting in May if officials don’t start filling out vehicle-use logs regularly, the council may take further action to address the issue.
According to city policy, all non-emergency vehicles, with the exception of police and fire vehicles, are required to be stored in the city parking lot from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. unless formally requested and approved by the mayor, according to the resolution.
The resolution states if the mayor wants to use a city vehicle, the mayor must give notice of the event to the Common Council within 72 hours.
The resolution also requires a daily use log that includes the following information on each trip: date, beginning odometer reading, ending odometer reading, driver name and purpose of use.
Wentworth previously said something needs to be done about improper use of vehicles or the council will have to return to the issue and find a different way to make sure the policy regarding city vehicles is followed.
Wentworth said she didn’t know exactly what the council would do if the issue continues to come up.
In December, city resident Bob Castiglione asked for the resignation of King over what Castiglione called King’s improper use of a city vehicle.
Levi Pascher can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.