Council postpones changes to vehicle policy

Published 11:38 am Wednesday, January 26, 2011


FRANKLIN—City Council during its Monday meeting debated about proposed changes to its policy for driving city-owned vehicles. In the end, the council delayed taking action.

The changes to the current policy were mainly for allowing council members to drive city-owned vehicles.

The council, however, spent the majority of its discussion on an item that would require employees who operate certain vehicles or equipment to have a valid driver’s licenses.

“Are we saying, as long as they have a valid license, it doesn’t matter what’s on their record?” Councilman Benny Burgess asked City Attorney Taylor Williams.

From the language of the policy, Burgess said he wasn’t sure if people with violations on their record would be excluded from using city vehicles.

Councilman Don Blythe agreed with Burgess, saying that infractions on a personal record would affect insurance premiums.

Williams said the city has not had to show copies of drivers’ licenses to the insurance company in the past. Instead, the company rates the city for coverage without looking at individual drivers’ licenses.

If the council wants the city to look at individual driving records, the members would have to give criteria that would exclude a person from being able to operate a city vehicle, he said.

“I would submit you’re not going to see many clean driving records — even if you were looking at mine,” Williams said.

City Manager June Fleming said the item was included in the policy to make sure employees who have to operate certain vehicles that require special licenses, like a Commercial Driver’s License, still have those licenses each year. The policy was not introduced to check for infractions on the drivers’ records, she said.

“It doesn’t seem right that we have people driving our vehicles and we have not checked their licenses since they were hired,” Fleming said.

Burgess said he wanted to make sure the city wasn’t liable for someone with several infractions on his or her license.

The issue Burgess was discussing was pertinent and needs to be examined, Fleming said, but was not the issue they were trying to address in the policy item.

“It’s a related piece, but not the intent of the provision before you,” she said.

Fleming also said when Williams looks into the issue of checking infractions on employees’ licenses, there would be a policy decision to make as to whether council members want to allow city employees with driving infractions to operate city vehicles.