By LeaAnne Klentzman
Rolling into his third month as Sheriff, Troy E. Nehls has announced a reduction in take home cars, fulfilling one of the planks in his campaign platform.
Sheriff Nehls said he campaigned on cost reduction at the Sheriff’s Office and intends to hold to that commitment. With that being said, he has reduced 25% of the non-essential take home cars in his agency.
Sheriff Nehls said, “My staff evaluated every assigned car and employees that were driving cars home whose duties did not justify the need for a take home car had them taken away.” The sheriff went on to explain, “My policy on take home vehicles is that they are there as an aid to providing service to the taxpayers of Fort Bend County, not a benefit for any particular employee.”
However, what Nehls failed to mention is the pushback from employees. Many employees have enjoyed a ride to and from work on the taxpayer’s dime for at least the last 15 years. While this austerity measure is saving the taxpayer, it is costing employees in a paycheck which they claim, “has not seen a raise for years.” An example of some of the “take home” cars that now remain parked at the office are Human Resources Director, Patrol Field Training Officers, Academy Sergeants and Lieutenants, Patrol Sergeants, Jail Sergeants and Lieutenants. In short, none of the personnel who lost “take home” cars are in an “on call” rotation.
While their positions are vital to the organization, they are not likely to be required to respond to a law enforcement matter from their home. No employee who was paying attention during the hotly contested Sheriff’s race of 2012 should have been surprised. Nehls said all along that his intention was to cut costs and be fiscally responsible; “take home” cars were one of his main talking points.
Nehls said by eliminating the 45 take home cars identified as nonessential his agency will save the county over $100,000 a year in gas and maintenance costs. “This is just another step in being more responsible to the taxpayers in this county”, said Nehls.