I-Team: Audit shows NHP wasting tax dollars - 8 News NOW

I-Team: Audit shows NHP wasting tax dollars

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LAS VEGAS -- The Nevada Highway Patrol has unused cars and idle employees which are costing taxpayers nearly $2 million every year, according to a report by state auditors.

The audit found that NHP's vehicle fleet was too large. It also found that state mechanics were only productive at their jobs less than half of their work day.

As state programs took deep cuts, the highway patrol continued to have far more vehicles than officers to drive them. The audit showed in 2012, there were 593 vehicles for 430 highway patrol employees. Auditors recommended selling a number of those cars which could net the state $7.2 million. That would also result in the maintenance of fewer vehicles saving another $1.8 million every year.

Nevada's public safety director says the fleet was reduced enough to save the recommended amount.

"I don't have the calculator to say that, but I think it's pretty close," said James Wright, Department of Public Safety director.

But the I-Team discovered NHP's fleet stands at 554 vehicles and the number of employees remains around the same as last year.

So although state auditors said NHP should reduce its fleet by 119 vehicles to save nearly $2 million a year, NHP only reduced the fleet by 39 vehicles.

"I know we dumped a lot. I think we got that number down to where we agreed with this," Wright said.

While NHP has its own repair shop, the audit found that mechanics were only productive -- actually repairing or maintaining the vehicle fleet -- less than half of their work day. The goal is to get that up to 80 percent.

"I think we'd all like to have a job where we can work less than half of the time," said Geoffrey Lawrence, Nevada Police Research Institute.
 "The goal was to have people do their job 80 percent of the time, which even sounds kind of lax for most people that work in the private sector,"

NHP says it is close to meeting the 80 percent productivity goal and defends the number of extra vehicles saying the audit fails to take in account the timing of vehicle purchasing.


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