Chapter 2.66
COUNTY-OWNED VEHICLES

Sections:

2.66.010    Purpose.

2.66.020    Vehicles.

2.66.030    Policy.

2.66.035    Preference to private vehicles.

2.66.040    Storage.

2.66.050    Driver’s license.

2.66.060    Drivers.

2.66.070    Employee-driver responsibility.

2.66.080    Passengers.

2.66.090    Long-range vehicle assignments.

2.66.100    Motor pool duties.

2.66.110    Overnight and after-hours use.

2.66.120    Return of the vehicle.

2.66.130    Continuing use.

2.66.140    Rental fees.

2.66.150    Executive as administrator.

2.66.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this policy is to provide for the uniform and consistent use of county-owned vehicles. (Ord. 80-45 § 1).

2.66.020 Vehicles.

County vehicles shall be identified in accordance with state law. The manner in which employees operate and utilize these readily identifiable vehicles is under continuing observation by the public and each employee must recognize the responsibility for prudent and proper operation of a county car when assigned for official business. (Ord. 80-45 § 2).

2.66.030 Policy.

County-owned vehicles shall be used only for transportation needs relative to official county business. County vehicles shall be utilized solely on a daily trip basis from the assigned work station except as enumerated in Sections 2.66.090, 2.66.110, 2.66.120 and 2.66.130. (Ord. 80-45 § 3).

2.66.035 Preference to private vehicles.

To the extent they are available, motor pool cars shall be utilized for county travel purposes by employees stationed in the central county complex before privately owned vehicles are used on a reimbursement basis. The county executive is authorized to grant exemption from this provision when the cost of a motor pool vehicle would exceed the cost of the use of a private automobile. (Ord. 83-41; Ord. 82-93 § 1(g)).

2.66.040 Storage.

The motor pool shall provide a secured parking area for overnight and weekend parking of official county motor pool vehicles. All vehicles excluding those covered by Sections 2.66.090, 2.66.110, 2.66.120 and 2.66.130 will be returned to this secured parking area daily by such hour as shall be established by administrative procedure. (Ord. 80-45 § 4).

2.66.050 Driver’s license.

All personnel assigned to a county vehicle for use on official business must possess a valid driver’s license. Licenses must be properly validated for any special equipment operation. (Ord. 80-45 § 5).

2.66.060 Drivers.

Only county employees who are on official county business may drive a county vehicle. If there is more than one county employee being transported by the vehicle for county business, any duly licensed county employee may drive. For the purposes of this section, consultants, private contractors and independent contractors are not considered employees of Whatcom County. (Ord. 80-45 § 6).

2.66.070 Employee-driver responsibility.

When using a county vehicle, the employee-driver has a responsibility regarding the following:

A. Safe and proper operation of the vehicle in accordance with the state traffic laws;

B. Use of the vehicle for official business only;

C. Transporting passengers only in connection with official county business;

D. Adequately protecting the vehicle from damage and/or theft;

E. Promptly and efficiently reporting any accident as required by state law, and in addition, shall report any accident to the tort claims division of Whatcom County through the Whatcom County prosecutor’s office;

F. Keeping the interior and exterior of the vehicle neat and clean, and in the case of a daily rental, return the vehicle refueled and ready for use;

G. The driver of the vehicle is responsible for any and all fines for moving violations received while operating the vehicle. (Ord. 80-45 § 7).

2.66.080 Passengers.

Except when directly related to county business, a vehicle, whether assigned or dispatched pursuant to the provisions regarding 24-hour or permanent assignments, shall not be used to transport any person or employee, other than the vehicle operator, to and from work. (Ord. 80-45 § 8).

2.66.090 Long-range vehicle assignments.

The provisions of the other sections of this chapter notwithstanding, county-owned motor pool vehicles may be assigned to a county official or employee on a 24-hour basis when and if the county executive declares such assignment to be in the best interests of the county and the conduct of county business. (Ord. 80-45 § 9).

2.66.100 Motor pool duties.1

The motor pool shall maintain and make available to county governmental departments vehicles for daily rental use for the performance of official duties. A daily rental shall be approved in writing by the elected official or the department head responsible for the activity in which the rental vehicle will be used. The motor pool shall be responsible for the maintenance of the mileage records for each vehicle. (Ord. 80-45 § 10).

2.66.110 Overnight and after-hours use.

The council recognizes that sometimes county business requires use of the vehicle at odd hours. Therefore, the following provisions are appropriate. A county employee may check out a county vehicle from the motor pool for overnight use only if:

A. The department head or his designee notifies the motor pool that the employee requesting the use of the vehicle has authorization to do so; and

B. The vehicles must be checked out overnight because the employee/user must have the vehicle early the next day for official use, and having to wait for the motor pool to open would seriously interfere with the schedule of the employee/user; or

C. The employee/user returns from official business at a time when the motor pool is closed. In this case, the employee/user shall return the vehicle to the motor pool the following business day at motor pool opening time;

D. The employee/user will be away for more than one day. (Ord. 80-45 § 11).

2.66.120 Return of the vehicle.

If the employee is returning the vehicle during hours, he shall return it directly to the motor pool. (Ord. 80-45 § 12).

2.66.130 Continuing use.

Motor pool vehicles may be assigned to the individuals on a basis of continued daily use during regular county government business hours, but only after such assignment has been justified to and approved by the county executive. (Ord. 80-45 § 13).

2.66.140 Rental fees.

The motor pool shall be reimbursed for the use of the pool vehicles by the using departments according to a schedule of charges to be established by administrative procedures, such schedule of charges being subject to change dictated by purchase, maintenance, and operating costs incurred by the motor pool in maintaining the fleet. (Ord. 80-45 § 14).

2.66.150 Executive as administrator.

The county executive is authorized and shall be responsible to establish the administrative procedures and requirements governing the operation and maintenance of the motor pool, the method and determination of the assignment of the vehicles, the disposition of charges arising from misuse of a county vehicle, and any other administrative requirements related to motor pool management. (Ord. 80-45 § 15).


1

Code reviser’s note: Section 2.74.070 (repealed by Ord. 93-003, effective January 1, 1994) dissolves the county motor pool.