Ocean City Officials Approve Take-Home Vehicle Policy

OCEAN CITY – A new policy will allow the resort to monitor take-home and on-call vehicle usage.

In a work session Tuesday, the Ocean City Council voted unanimously to approve a formal take-home and on-call vehicle policy. City Manager Terry McGean said the policy was a result of a recent audit.

“Some time ago at the request of the council we had an audit done on take-home vehicles,” he explained. “One of the recommendations from that audit was that at the time there was really no formal policy for take home vehicles and no acknowledgement of the take-home vehicle drivers as to what policies and procedures they needed to follow. As a result of that, the staff has put together a policy as it applies to take-home vehicles.”

McGean said Ocean City currently has 58 take-home vehicles – 38 of which are assigned to the Ocean City Police Department – 15 rotating on-call vehicles and three seasonal take-home vehicles.

Because specific employees were referenced in the audit, the results of the audit were presented to the council in closed session.

“The audit resulted in a grade of ‘Needs Improvement’ due to lack of a formal policy for take-home/on-call vehicles, lack of a central database of existing take-home/on-call vehicle assignments, lack of formal approvals for take-home/on-call vehicles, and lack of written employee acknowledgement of take-home/on-call and general vehicle operation policies and procedures,” a memo to the council reads.

During Tuesday’s work session, McGean told the council the proposed policy and related forms addressed audit recommendations. He said the policy would not apply to the Ocean City Police Department.

“They do have their own policy that’s done through internal General Orders that are approved by the Mayor and City Council separately,” he explained.

Councilman John Gehrig questioned if the council would be kept informed on the take-home and on-call vehicle policy.

“Is this something – I don’t know if it’s during the budget – that we see once a year?” he said.

McGean said staff could provide the council with a yearly update.

“One of the requirements of this policy is that annually we get a listing of all take-home vehicles, so I’m certainly happy to share that with the Mayor and Council …,” he said. “The policy has it done in January so if that’s what you like to see, I think that’s probably the best time.”

With no further discussion, the council voted 7-0 to approve the take-home and on-call vehicle policy.

“Thank you for getting this taken care of,” said Council President Matt James.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.