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Pittsburgh council delays vote on take-home vehicles

| Wednesday, March 5, 2008, 12:00 p.m.

Pittsburgh City Council today delayed voting on legislation to restrict use of city-owned vehicles that employees are permitted to take home.

There are 58 take-home Explorers, Impalas, Yukons and other vehicles, but Councilman Ricky Burgess' bill seeks to reduce that number to seven for key positions. Exceptions could be made for employees who drive more than 1,200 miles a month.

"I introduced this bill because we should not supplement city employees for their commuter costs," Burgess said. "I think that we need to have a policy where vehicles are taken home only when those take-home vehicles are used for emergency situations, like first responders when people are going to go directly from home to a scene (of an emergency)."

Council members including Jim Motznik, Bruce Kraus and Council President Doug Shields expressed support for the legislation.

"No only is it practical, but it's symbolic to the state that this council is acting prudently," said Shields, referring to Pittsburgh's financially distressed status.

Council voted unanimously to delay a preliminary vote on the legislation and first hold a televised public meeting on the merits of the vehicle restrictions. A date for that discussion hasn't been set.

Burgess believes only seven city jobs warrant a take-home vehicle -- mayor; public-safety director; public works director; and the fire, police, Emergency Medical Services and Bureau of Building Inspection chiefs.

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