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City of Brookhaven and Lincoln County vehicles not for personal use

It’s pretty cut and dry. Vehicles paid for by taxpayer dollars are not to be used as personal wheels.

That applies to vehicles used by both city and county employees. The Lincoln County Board of Supervisors and the Brookhaven Board of Aldermen both have passed ordinances making that common-sense rule a law.

“We’ve adhered to that policy very well,” said Brookhaven Mayor Joe Cox. “We’ve not had any problems with that.”

The city has had an order on the books since February 2006.

“As we all know, city vehicles are to be used only for city business and are not to be used for personal use,” the order reads.

However, there are exceptions.

According to the order, the city vehicle may be driven to the employee’s home and back “when employees are on call as is the case with the water department, police department or fire department. The vehicle is not to be used for personal use.”

Vehicles are only to be driven to an employee’s home when that employee is on call.

“There’s been no abuse of that policy that I’m aware of,” he said.

The city owns 113 vehicles including police cars and fire trucks. The oldest is a 1991 Ford bucket truck.

The city also has in place a procedure to cover accidents by employees while driving a city vehicle. If the investigating officer determines the accident is the fault of the employee, that individual must take a defensive drivers course — paid for by the city — before being allowed to drive again. The employee will be compensated for the time away from work.

After a second accident within a two-year period deemed to be the employee’s fault, the employee faces a one-month suspension without pay and could be terminated at the board’s discretion.

Lincoln County supervisors passed a resolution last year authorizing non-elected county employees to take county vehicles home under certain circumstances.

They based their ordinance on an opinion from the attorney general that if the board finds it would be “reasonable and necessary for an employee to take his assigned vehicle home in order to enable the employee in question to fully perform his duties and responsibilities, then such practice may be authorized.”

According to the board’s resolution, passed unanimously Sept. 6, 2016, only the following employees are allowed to take county vehicles home:

• District 1: Supervisor Jerry Wilson as well as Steve Morris and Andre Jones.

• District 2: Supervisor Bobby Watts as well as James May, Lance James and Jerry McGehee.

• District 3: Supervisor Nolan Williamson as well as Ricky Nations and Jim Jordan

• District 4: Supervisor Eddie Brown, Calvin McCullen, Kenneth Smith and Mark Laird.

• District 5: Doug Falvey, Carroll Smith and Adam Tanksley.

• General: Emergency Management Director Clifford Galey.

Individuals are not allowed to use the county vehicle for “private activity, including, but not limited to, any private activity such as going to the grocery store, restaurant, school, church or any private business,” the resolution reads.