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On Monday, members of the audit committee responded to a June 29 performance audit that looked at take-home vehicles for city employees. The audit found that of the 347 vehicles provided to city employees, 99 were underutilized, costing the city $718,000 in 2010.

According to Claudi Orsi from the city auditor's office, 23 vehicles were assigned to people with "no specialized skills." Six drivers drove their take-home vehicles more than one-hundred miles each day driving to and from work. Those six employees alone cost the City $200,000 that year alone.

The audit recommended establishing maximum take-home distances, and encouraged more carpools between police and fire department officials.

"I think a casual reader of [the audit] would get the impression that take-home vehicles are an employee perk. That is certainly not the case. For fire and rescue only four percent have take home vehicles," said Fire Chief Javier Mainar.

Mainar said the department has already taken vehicles away from three employees.

Assistant Police Chief Robert Kanaski, however, defended car assignments for the K9 unit.

"We expect that officer to be with that dog 24 hours a day. We just can't put one of these dogs in a personal car. With liability issues we just can't do that.

The committee directed police and fire rescue officials to return in six months and update committee members on any changes made to the take-home vehicle program.

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