Millin Maduro still withholding list of government cars list
Published: January 4, 2013
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ST. THOMAS - The commissioner of the V.I. Property and Procurement Department has continued to withhold public records detailing the use, value and oversight of the government's fleet of vehicles.
Almost five months after The Daily News requested a full inventory of government-owned vehicles - including the make, model and year of each vehicle, as well as the department or employee to which the vehicle is assigned - Property and Procurement Commissioner Lynn Millin Maduro agreed to meet with a reporter Dec. 24 to provide the documents and answer questions related to the topic.
While Maduro and Government House spokesman Jean Greaux Jr., who also attended the meeting, answered questions about the government's fleet for almost two hours, Millin Maduro provided no records to The Daily News.
Instead, she stated - for the first time since the request was submitted in July - that a list of government vehicles provided to the V.I. Legislature in July as part of the department's annual budget year was responsive to the request.
According to that document, the government owns 791 vehicles on St. Croix and 831 vehicles on St. Thomas with an approximate value of $14.7 million.
The list does not include semi-autonomous agencies, such as the V.I. Water and Power Authority or the V.I. Waste Management Authority. Millin Maduro said that her agency may have a list of these vehicles because they are registered through the Property and Procurement Department but that her department does not have oversight of the use of those vehicles.
However, prior to the Dec. 24 meeting, Millin Maduro never indicated that her response to The Daily News' request was going to consist of the list provided to the Legislature. She said the department was working on compiling a more accurate and up-to-date list pursuant to the request and said a major factor in the delay in providing the information was the transition to a new software system that rendered the department unable to print relevant records.
Millin Maduro reiterated on Dec. 24 that the process of compiling the public records is ongoing and agreed to provide the updated list on Dec. 28. She also agreed to provide at the same time information regarding the government's fuel expenses for the last three fiscal years, as well as expenses for maintenance and insurance.
Millin Maduro has not provided any records or responded to four requests for comment since then.
"One thing I understand is the request for public information any time it's asked for," Millin Maduro said Dec. 24. "That's something that as long as I can give it to you, every time we have requests from The Daily News, as long as we can give it, I turn it over, because they are public."
Greaux said Thursday he would follow up with Millin Maduro regarding the records.
"As promised, the commissioner is in the process of compiling the public records that you both discussed at the meeting on December 24, 2012," Greaux said in an email. "Regrettably, the process of compiling the documents has taken a bit longer than expected as some of the documents date back three or more years."
Greaux said a software vendor is finalizing the entry of vehicle data into the new computer system, called FleetMate. The vendor will spend "the next few days" testing the software before training department staff on it.
"Once the data is finalized and the training completed, it is expected that the data base will be accessible," Greaux said. "At that time, you will be provided with an updated listing of the Executive Branch vehicle fleet."
- Contact reporter Lou Mattei at 714-9124 or email email@example.com.