[HISTORY: Adopted by the Human Resources Department of the Town of South Hadley effective 1-1-2015. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Personnel policies — See Ch. 441.
This policy is meant to provide an outline of the assignment criteria and administrative policies/procedures governing individual/department use of Town-owned vehicles. This policy does not cover specific vehicles outlined in policies of the South Hadley Police Department that are more specific than this policy.
This policy applies to all Town vehicles and pertains to all Town employees.
As used in this policy, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ASSIGNED TAKE-HOME VEHICLE
- A Town vehicle that is used by an employee for Town business and for regularly commuting to/from work.
- ASSIGNED WORKDAY VEHICLE
- A Town vehicle assigned to a department but not to a specific employee and not used for an employee to commute to/from work.
- EMERGENCY RESPONSE
- An employee who has primary responsibility to respond to emergencies which require immediate response.
- WORK STATION
- The office or site to which a Town employee reports to perform normally scheduled work.
The Town wishes to restrict the number of Town-owned vehicles being used by employees to commute to/from work to only those times when it is in the best interest of the Town. The use of Town vehicles for take-home increases operational costs, adds mileage to Town vehicles, increases wear and tear on vehicles, and decreases the useful life of the pool of vehicles available to address the needs of the Town.
Use of personal vehicles is preferred over the assignment of take-home vehicles for conducting Town business before and after normal working hours. Employees will submit for approval by their supervisor for this type of travel and will be reimbursed at the IRS standard mileage rate allowance.
Assignment of a Town vehicle shall not be made for the convenience of employees, nor as substitute compensation for any employee. The Town Administrator (or his designee) must authorize the assignment of a take-home vehicle. The assignment must be for the efficient and effective delivery of vital services on an after-hours basis, or for other purposes to meet the needs of the Town.
Use of Town vehicles for personal purposes is prohibited, other than travel to/from work.
To receive a take-home vehicle assignment one of the following two criteria must be documented on the Take-Home Vehicle Authorization Form:
Emergency response. A take-home vehicle may be assigned to a Town employee who is called out and has primary responsibility to respond to emergencies which require immediate response to protect life or property; and:
Special equipment vehicles. Take-home vehicles may be assigned if an employee needs specialized equipment or a special vehicle to perform Town work outside the employee's normal work schedule.
Communication access shall not be considered, by itself, as a valid reason for a specifically assigned vehicle.
Employees must have the primary responsibility to respond to calls and to be available to respond when requested.
Specialized vehicles or equipment cannot be used for personal use.
In limited instances, and normally for a limited duration, the Town Administrator may approve a take-home vehicle that does not strictly meet this justification criterion.
Employees assigned a take-home Town vehicle will have their taxable gross increased by an amount that represents the value of this "non-cash taxable fringe benefit" as outlined in IRS Publication 15-B, Employer's Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits. The employee who is assigned a Town take-home vehicle shall receive a copy of the Take-Home Vehicle Fringe Benefit Form for use when completing his/her personal income tax forms.
Editor's Note: A copy of the Take-Home Vehicle Fringe Benefit Form is included as an attachment to this chapter.
The Town Administrator (or designee) has final approval authority for all take-home vehicle assignments. All assignments expire at the end of the fiscal year and must be reviewed and authorized for the assignment to continue.
Department heads must review their department operations to determine if operational needs meet the criteria set forth in this policy for a take-home vehicle assignment. By May 15 of each year, department heads must review this information and complete a new Take-Home Vehicle Authorization Form for any assignment they are requesting to continue. Department heads must continually review their department operations so that if the need for a take-home vehicle is no longer necessary, the assignment ends and the employee's payroll reflects the termination of the assignment.
Employees requesting a take-home vehicle assignment must meet one of the following criteria:
If emergency response is being used as the justification, there must be an explanation as to why alternative forms of transportation cannot be used to respond to the emergencies and why a Town vehicle cannot be picked up in a designated Town parking lot.
If special equipment is used as the justification, the following information must be provided:
Description of necessary equipment;
Explanation of why a Town vehicle is required to transport the special equipment;
How the equipment is being used;
Why the vehicle cannot be picked up in a designated Town parking lot; and
Description of the type and nature of the emergency that requires the use of such equipment.
Employees shall submit completed Take-Home Vehicle Authorization and Take-Home Vehicle Fringe Benefit Forms to their department head or the Town Administrator, if the employee is a department head, for review and submit them for approval to the Town Administrator. All forms must be resubmitted and approved at least annually, or when an employee's job assignment changes.
Editor's Note: Copies of said forms are included as attachments to this chapter.
Maintain a valid Massachusetts driver's license (provide a photocopy of said license);
Provide off-street overnight parking at the employee's home;
Comply with operator responsibilities, accident reporting requirements and other procedures;
Not transport any non-Town employees in the vehicle, except when conducting official Town business;
Only use the vehicle for business and commuting to and from work, with de-minimus personal use (brief stop, on the way, for a personal errand);
Be personally responsible for any traffic citations received while driving a Town vehicle, and promptly pay any fines.
It is the employee's responsibility to immediately report any loss, lapse or suspension of license and under no circumstances should said employee operate a Town vehicle under either of these or similar circumstances.
The Town Administrator shall have final approval of all Take-Home Vehicle Authorization and Take-Home Vehicle Fringe Benefit Forms. Violation of this policy will result in discipline, which may include termination.
Departments are assigned a certain number of Town vehicles for conducting Town business during the workday, but not for employees commuting to and from work.
The most economic alternatives for short-distance (same-day) business trips are privately owned vehicles and assigned workday vehicles. Employees using their own vehicles will be reimbursed under the Town's Travel Policy or the employee's CBA.