John Brummett is right, of course. Gov. Mike Beebe can’t explain away the question of state vehicle oversupply — if there is one — by saying the bulk of the cars are in constitutionally independent agencies — highways, Game and Fish and colleges. The legislature appropriates their money; he signs the legislation. All are governed by commissions and boards composed of gubernatorial appointees. He could — and should — demand full accountability.
I’ve called before for a computerized database of every state vehicle and, where appropriate, names of employees to which they are assigned and which employees are cleared for use of free cars for personal commutes. (Yes they pay a piddling tax, in some cases but not all, for the commuting privileges.)
I tend to think the problem is overblown and that the abuses are small. But it doesn’t mean they should be dismissed out of hand.
Brummett ends by echoing my earlier suggestion that the explosion of state-paid cell phones might be worth a look, too. People with reason to know tell me you’d be surprised, for example, at the international calls made on some of them, particularly by certain very highly paid state employees.