___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________




    What were they thinking?
    Did Zap, Ambro thumb noses at PA Code with
    Fay vehicle for Zap's personal use?
    _______________________________________________________

    While it is clear that Fayette County Commissioner Vince Zapotosky took personal possession of a county-owned vehicle home for some
    time in 2014 and used the vehicle to transport family members for personal use, as shown in these photographs, it is unknown
    whether he or other county officials or operational staff followed proper procedure for Zapotosky even to have had the vehicle for non-county
    business in the first place.    

    As per PA Code section, § 4300.67, Motor vehicles:

       (4)  The personal use of motor vehicles is prohibited unless a procedure for pay-back is established and the employee
                 reimburses the program for the use of the vehicle.

      (5)  A daily log detailing the use of vehicles, as well as maintenance or service activities, shall be maintained.





    In Bedford County in 2012, a former county commissioners repaid nearly $4,000 to the county after breaching state policy that forbids officials
    to claim mileage reimbursements for personal vehicles traveling within the county. Audits there showed that a second commissioner also
    owes Bedford County over $1,700, also for forbidden reimbursements for inner county personal travel in a county-owned vehicle.

    Some  years back in Fayette, it became known that one non-profit director ran into IRS problems, after the director and the director's family
    used an agency vehicle as a personally owned car. The director benefited significantly from having 24/7 access to a free car, free car
    insurance, free car maintenance, free tires and free fuel.

    The IRS forced the director to pay federal, state and local income taxes on a part of the mileage racked up on non-agency related travel. The
    IRS declared that the savings that the director realized, from having free travel and travel expenses for personal use of the vehicle, was
    undeclared income and undeclared income that needed to be taxed.

    In more recent years, another long-time non-profit administrator was terminated by the agency's board after a vehicle, purchased with public
    funds, was used to transport a family member's belongings when relocating. Though different rules pertain to elected officials versus staff, the
    County Commissioners' Association of PA (CCAP) tells counties not to allow personal use of a public-funded vehicle whatsoever.  


      

    Not that Zapotosky was cruising around town in a luxury car, mind you, but what was then Fayette County Commission Chairman Al
    Ambrosini -- or whoever gave Zapotosky the keys -- thinking when Zapotosky was authorized to take the car home and drive around in it with
    his family?

    What was the liability of the county if he and his family members in the car were hurt or involved in a wreck, whether it were his fault or not?
    The liability was staggering, even if a prior repayment plan were in place to satisfy the PA Code.

    A Right To Know request was sent yesterday to obtain the vehicle's travel and fueling information log from that vehicle. Four of four county
    staff surveyed yesterday stated unanimously that vehicle travel information logs are still kept in county vehicles when they drive them and
    purchase fuel.

    A request was also made to learn who exactly authorized Zapotosky to use the vehicle for personal travel with family members being
    transported. As per PA Code quoted above, these vehicle logs are required not just of staff, but of anyone using the public-funded vehicles
    for any reason.




    Was there a prepared written repayment agreement, as PA Code quoted above says needed to be completed, prior to Zapotosky
    using the car for his personal use? Even if there had been a required prior repayment agreement in place and he were at no fault in an
    accident, can Fayette really afford the liability of any county representative, elected official or not, driving around with a family member along
    for the ride?

    Readers here know that Zapotosky publicly sent chills down us when he said in recent months that the brakes in a county car he used were
    worn and that the brake pedal went to the floor for him.




    Did Zapotosky have an extensive amount of pre-scheduled, legitimate county business over a few weeks to justify having possession of a
    county-owned vehicle?  While only a 5-day span was documented with photographs sent here, sources believe he may have had possession
    of the car for 2-3 weeks.

    Zapotosky was asked yesterday for comment. (14 Aug 15)



    Editor's Note: No comment has been received from Zapotosky on the matter.
    jt
              4-24-15           

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Right To Know inquiry has readers sending in copies of their
    public-funded agency/department vehicle info logs

    After a few readers heard that Fayette County generously loaned out a county vehicle to an elected official to take home and use for personal
    travel, a few vehicle information log samples were sent here.

    In a survey done here, using this site's mailing list from A-K, about 341 of those registered to known government email addresses, received a
    quick questionnaire. Mondays being Mondays, 273 respondents said they use public-funded vehicles once in a blue moon to frequently at
    work. Never using a work car were 19 more respondents. The rest of those polled likely called off work -- you know, Mondays being Mondays
    -- and did not respond.

    Nonetheless, this site received copies of some actual logs from a fairly wide scatter of places. Some were very basic, simple to complete.
    Imagine columns across a page: date, purpose of trip, odometer reading before and after travel, indication of fluids added to the vehicle,
    names of passengers, if applicable and name of staff driving, etc.

    Other forms received as samples seemed to become more technical if one vehicle was exclusively assigned to one or two staff. Those forms
    in a few cases, were 2-pages, breaking down daily versus weekly expectations of the driver(s) to document or confirm that tires and fluids
    were checked. Some of the specific vehicle information logs received came redacted with government office names redacted. From
    Connecticut to Harrisburg to Tampa and Michigan, Morgantown, Colorado, Ohio and Pittsburgh, this site received confirmation that vehicle
    information logs are widely used because they're required to be used.

    Prior to receiving the RTK information, four local county employees, who use a county vehicle often for work, confirmed that vehicle
    information logs are kept in a vehicle, signed and completed for each trip the vehicle makes. Mileage is kept, destinations tracked and
    notations made to say whether gas or oil were purchased, and how many gallons, etc.  

    That said, the RTK answer that arrived today provided this vehicle information log for the car used by the county
    commissioner for his personal travels.

    Some readers, meanwhile, thought this was a joke when they received it for comment and reaction. They thought it was a joke that the chief
    clerk was unaware of a fuel log being required to be kept -- especially when some enlarged the calendar and read the note on May 28 that
    the commissioner lost the car keys.

    Sorry, but it's all too true.
    jt
    24 Aug 15  




Fayette County COMMENTARY

extended commentary from daily Rants&Raves
___________________
Some RTK Answers...

late, but in last minute,
before state appeal
tomorrow
jt
8-24-15
____________________

Vehicle Information Log

Amy Revak
<arevak@fayettepa.org>
Mon, Aug 24, 2015 at 11:
11 AM
To: "J.D. Toye"
<julie@julietoye.com>

Ms. Toye,

Pursuant to the RTK
request you submitted on
August 13, 2015
(attached), the dates that
Commission Chairman
Vincent Zapotosky used the
county Chevrolet Malibu
were May 17 to May 28,
2014. The Director of
Public Works, Bob Carson,
is in charge of county
vehicle authorization.

Regarding “copies of
county staff/vehicle mileage
travel logs,” attached is the
calendar from May 2014
when Commissioner
Zapotosky utilized the
vehicle.



The last section of your
request, “fuel purchased
from May 1-June 30,
2014,” is not included in the
documentation I am
providing. I am unclear
exactly what you are
seeking, therefore I am
denying your request and
nothing is included for that
portion of your RTK
request. However,
Commissioner Zapotosky
did not use a county
gasoline card during the
time he had the vehicle nor
did he submit
reimbursement for gasoline
purchased during the time
he used the car.



You have a right to appeal
this denial of information in
writing to Nathanael Byerly,
Acting Executive Director,
Office of Open Records,
Commonwealth Keystone
Building, 400 North Street,
4th Floor, Harrisburg PA
17120.



If you choose to file an
appeal you must do so
within 15 days of today. If
you have additional
questions, please let me
know. Please be advised
that this correspondence
will serve to close this
record with our office as
permitted by law.

Amy Revak

Chief Clerk of Fayette
County

724-430-1200 ext. 213

From: copier@fayettepa.
org [mailto:
copier@fayettepa.org]
Sent: Monday, August 24,
2015 4:22 AM
To: arevak@fayettepa.org
Subject: Message from
KMBT_552
2 attachments
SLower
Comm15082408220.pdf
403K
County Vehicle Log May
2014.pdf




Julie Toye
Mon, Aug 24, 2015 at 1:15
PM
To: Amy Revak
<arevak@fayettepa.org>

for clarification, I checked
with county employees
prior to doing the RTK to
see if procedure changed
since I last completed a
vehicle log. Any vehicle
purchased with public
money has to have the
vehicle info (usually on a
clip board) log kept in it.
Staff write down starting
miles, end miles, whether
they purchased fuel, etc.
______________________

Editor's Note:

Waiting on RTK to learn if a
reimbursement agreement
was made, as per PA Code
section, § 4300.67, Motor
vehicles