ELIZABETHTOWN — Essex County thinks it can save money if fewer county-owned vehicles are driven home every night.So the county is compiling a list of everyone who does that.The next step is a meeting with department heads and County Transportation Coordinator Nancy Dougal."It is beneficial for us to review it," said Board of Supervisors Chairman Noel Merrihew III (R-Elizabethtown).He said they need to decide "what is working and what isn't working."There have been accusations that the survey is really being done to restrict specific individuals, but Supervisor Randy Douglas (D-Jay), who chairs the Transportation Committee, said that's not true."It's a sensitive issue about county vehicles going home. I want to make it clear this isn't personal with me."He said he would resign the committee post if anyone believes it is personal."I took it on because I'm glad to do it," Douglas said.He said he wants to sit down in non-confrontational manner and discuss the issue with everyone involved.Among the topics to be considered will be starting a county motor pool that all departments can draw from, instead of each agency having its own cars; and the Internal Revenue Service rules on vehicles taken home.County Manager Clifford Donaldson Jr. said elected officials could not be restricted on vehicle use, since they operate their departments independently of Board of Supervisors' control.Most county employees who drive vehicles home are subject to being called to duty after hours. Those include Child Protective Services, the Department of Public Works, Emergency Services and the Sheriff's Department.The alternative would be to require them to drive a personal vehicle to the county seat in Elizabethtown and pick up a county vehicle there to respond to an after-hours emergency situation.
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