Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Sheriff says selling vehicle wasn’t among top priorities

By CRYSTAL HERBER, Herald Staff Writer | 12/19/2012

The sale of a surplus county vehicle wasn’t at the top of the sheriff’s to-do list, Jeff Curry said Wednesday. 

Because the vehicle in question wasn’t costing his office any money, selling it wasn’t a chief priority, the county sheriff told the Franklin County Board of Commissioners. Curry said the vehicle’s sale was delayed largely because of distractions related to training and the election season.

The sale of a surplus county vehicle wasn’t at the top of the sheriff’s to-do list, Jeff Curry said Wednesday. 

Because the vehicle in question wasn’t costing his office any money, selling it wasn’t a chief priority, the county sheriff told the Franklin County Board of Commissioners. Curry said the vehicle’s sale was delayed largely because of distractions related to training and the election season.

“Unfortunately, I dealt with the same thing that a few of you did over the last few months, which is campaign time,” Curry told the board. “I also had to attend two sheriff’s schools over the last couple months that’s kept me out of the office, and the fleet hasn’t been on the top of my list to get complete.”

The vehicle, a 2008 Ford Expedition, has yet to be sold even though it was cleared by the board for surplus sale in August. The board left it up to the sheriff to determine how and when the vehicle would be sold. The vehicle, which was worth between $3,000 and $7,000 in August, continues to be in use, Curry said, and will be until he decides what to do with it. The option of keeping the vehicle for administrative use still is on the table. 

At an Aug. 22 meeting, Curry told the board the vehicle was not designed for the rigors of pursuit driving, and because of that, more than $6,000 in maintenance already had been spent on the Expedition. At the time, Curry said he expected the maintenance costs to increase as long as he kept the vehicle in use.

“I talked to our mechanic about the Expedition,” Curry said Wednesday. “He said that the vehicle has relatively low miles. If it’s not being used as a pursuit vehicle or a patrol vehicle, we should be able to get a lot of miles out of it.” 

When the board approved the Expedition for sale in August, Curry also requested the board approve the purchase of a 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe to use as a K-9 unit for the sheriff’s office. That vehicle, which had about 49,000 miles on it at the time of sale, was purchased for about $19,000 from the surplus property of the Kansas Highway Patrol. The Tahoe already has been delivered to the sheriff’s office and has been in use for more than a month. Curry previously said, however, the new vehicle would be purchased with funds from the sale of the Expedition, as well as money from the sheriff trust fund.

“It takes some time to really sit down and crunch those numbers, and I do apologize to you for not having that done sooner,” Curry said Wednesday regarding the sale of the Expedition.

At a Dec. 5 county meeting, Shari Perry, county clerk, questioned members of the board about why the vehicle had not been sold. Perry asked that the issue be put on a county agenda, and Curry be made to give a reason why it remained in use. 

Curry was not at the meeting earlier in December because he was attending continuing education training in Hutchinson. 

In addition to evaluating options for the Expedition in the coming months, Curry said he expects to examine the entire fleet to hopefully determine where some cuts can be made to save the county’s money. He said he intends to reduce the fleet by three or four vehicles in the next year, which should help reduce department costs overall. 

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