Take-home cars in Holyoke

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s a story we’ve been following closely for more than a month. Holyoke’s take-home car policy for city workers.

The 22News I-Team obtained the list of all Holyoke City owned cars and discovered how many people have the luxury of taking one home.

Overall, Holyoke has more than 200 city cars, but Chief Procurement Officer David Martins told 22News only eight people are assigned cars to take home.

The Mayor, Fire and Police Chief, the Department of Public Works Director, and another worker in the DPW take home a car.  The School Superintendent and the Maintenance Director take home cars, as does the Building Commissioner.

City Councilor Rebecca Lisi told 22News, they are making progress  on revamping their travel policy.

“It became really clear after this incident with the Mayor that they’re really grey and ambiguous and take for granted that people will be using those vehicles in a common sense manner, when really we need to be concrete and crystal clear about what we expect to be the proper use”, said Lisi.

The incident she is referring to is the mayor’s cousin allegedly stealing the keys to the mayor’s car, and being arrested for driving drunk in Northampton.

The City Council on Tuesday adopted a policy that puts the Holyoke seal on the front side doors of the mayor’s car.

The council could soon vote an order that would stop all municipal employees from taking home a car until the new policy is set, except for public safety vehicles.

The council also could soon vote on an order that would make city employees pay a week fee for the use of a public vehicle, up to $100 a week.

The council tabled an order that would further specify that workers with take-home cars could not use it for personal use and non-city employees would not be able to drive the car or even be in the car unless it is for authorized official use.

The council tabled another order that would make all municipal vehicles have identifiable placards in addition to a phone number that concerned residents can call with complaints.

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