Vehicle law passed in Gloversville

GLOVERSVILLE – The Common Council unanimously passed a law Tuesday that will make violation of the city’s vehicle-use policy for elected officials and employees a crime.

The ordinance states city vehicles “may be used only for official business and are not additional compensation or added benefit for the city of Gloversville elected officials.”

Former Fire Chief Doug Edwards, who spoke during a public hearing on the law, said it will be ineffective unless it’s carefully monitored and enforced by city officials.

“We can make rules, we can have rules, but unless we follow and endorse the rules, they are worthless,” Edwards said.

He also questioned the mayor’s use of the city vehicle he’s authorized to use for city business.

Mayor Dayton King has faced criticism for failing to turn in mileage logs for the use of the Ford Explorer.

Fourth Ward Councilwoman Ellen Anadio, who sponsored a 2011 resolution establishing a vehicle-use policy for the city, suggested adding the new law to the city code so violations would carry criminal penalties.

“The ordinance and guidelines will produce a full understanding on the part of city elected officials/employees of their responsibilities concerning the use of city-owned vehicles,” the ordinance states.

It states violations would be resolved by using employee contracts or state penal law.

Anadio previously said if there is something in an employee’s contract regarding the use of city resources, the contract would supersede the ordinance. However, employees who have nothing in their contract regarding use of resources could face charges such as theft or failure to pay taxes, she said.

The personal use of an employer-provided vehicle is taxable income to the individual, and personal use includes commuting to and from work as well as local and out-of-town personal travel, according to the ordinance.

It states the IRS has provided four methods of determining the personal use value of a city-owned vehicle, and the city finance commissioner’s office will determine which method will be used.

A 2011 council resolution established a vehicle-use policy that requires city vehicles only be used for official business and not as additional compensation or an added benefit for city employees or officials.

Members of the council said they have been fielding questions and concerns from city residents about city officials, including the mayor, using city vehicles for personal reasons.

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.