Colorado taxpayers spent $1.38 million for personal vehicle use that doesn’t fit statutory regulations

More than 780 Colorado state employees got to use state-owned vehicles to commute to their homes in 2015. That’s something that is allowed, and it cost Colorado $1.54 million dollars.

However, $1.38 million of that cost did not meet all the statutory criteria, according to a new state audit. That’s about 89.6 percent. 

How did this happen? Essentially, the rules that govern so-called take-home vehicles are too murky. Among the highlighted findings:

  • The statutory criteria to authorize a take-home vehicle are unclear, and some criteria may not align with the state’s business needs.
  • Current policies and rules don’t seem to square with IRS regulations.
  • The department tasked with handling the program doesn’t serve as a central oversight.

The way it’s supposed to work is agency executive directors authorize employees to use a state-owned vehicle for commuting “when such use of the vehicle would (1) promote a legitimate nonpartisan state interest, (2) promote the efficient operation of the state motor vehicle fleet system, and (3) be cost-effective to the state agency.”

Here’s the state agencies have authorized their employees to use this provision, and how many they’ve allowed:

Corrections had the most employees using the take-home vehicle program.
Corrections had the most employees using the take-home vehicle program.

And here are those agencies again, this time ranked by the cost to the state.

Corrections cost the state the most when it comes to take-home vehicles.
Corrections cost the state the most when it comes to take-home vehicles.

The state auditor’s office has recommended looking at the factors that determine eligibility for commuting, maybe even changing the requirements. For its part, the Department of Personnel and Administration has agreed with that and all 10 recommendations put forward.