A proposed ordinance would prevent city employees from taking home city owned vehicles to a residence more than 25 miles outside of Baltimore.
Councilman William Cole IV is the lead sponsor of the bill that will be introduced to the Baltimore City Council on Monday. City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young is listed as a co-sponsor.
Cole said he has been working on the issue for years, going back to 2008 when he addressed the problem of city police cars being taken far outside the city with former Mayor Sheila Dixon’s administration. He said initially the number of cars being taken home to places as far away as Deleware declined, but has started to creep back up.
"It’s not a new issue. It’s something I’ve been looking at for a while," Cole said.
He said city vehicles are supposed to go home with employees who are generally first responders who need to get to the city in a hurry, but that taking the vehicles outside of the city more than 25 miles defeats that purpose.
"Twenty-five miles is 30-35 minutes [drive] and is reasonable. Anything beyond that and maybe these people shouldn’t be first responders," Cole said.
The Baltimore Police Department currently has 89 take-home vehicles, not including federally funded vehicles, down from more than 100 vehicles, according to an email from police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.
He also wrote that the department doesn’t have a stance on the bill yet because it hasn’t officially introduced to the council.
A spokesman for the Baltimore Fire Department wasn't immediately available to comment.
The mayor’s office issued a statement that it's looking forward to working with Cole on the bill.
"The mayor’s goal is to reduce take-home vehicles while modernizing the city’s fleet to reduce costs. The mayor’s office itself reduced its passenger vehicles by 37 percent since taking office, eliminating take home cars for deputy mayors and staff," the statement reads.