By on February 14, 2013

I live in a nice quaint small town called Powder Springs, Georgia.

The sidewalks are paved downtown and even partially bricked for artistic value. Thanks to a generous donation by the taxpayers. The streetlamps are ornate and well lit thanks to the same contributors.

The old closed down ACE hardware store is now the new police station. The old city hall has been replaced by the new city hall.  Even the vehicles that get too old to keep get replaced with shiny new ones thanks to American taxpayers far and wide.

How many miles do you think would it take to replace a car owned by the local city government?

How about less than 50,000 miles?

This 2005 Chevy Impala has all of 49,974 miles on it. Like any other vehicle that has the agony of driving in what many view as the smoothest roads in the country, this Impala is ready to be put out to pasture.

For some reason, this Impala wasn’t much loved in the city vehicle pool.  7000 miles a year for a non-police unit likely means that this ride didn’t have to go past too many closed down businesses to get to the Waffle House a mile down the street.

What? You want me to get interior pics? Fat chance on that. This is all you are going to see of a car that was made possible by you alone, Mr. John Q Public!

Yawn! You want me to write a description of this car too? Okay, fine then! I’m taking an early lunch after that!

Year Make/Brand Model VIN/Serial Miles
2005 Chevrolet Impala 2G1WF52K059385392 49,974
Condition Category
See Description Automobiles
2005 Chevrolet Impala Base SEDAN 4-DR, 3.8L V6 OHV 12V.2007 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor SEDAN 4-DR, 4.6L V8 SOHC 16V.2001 Ford Crown Vic info

I did mention it was a SEDAN. So as far as I’m concerned, my job is done here.

Here are a few other prized jewels for the offering.  I do have to confess that this is not anywhere near the worst presentation of government vehicles that I have ever seen. In fact, I do have to offer kudos for the lady who came back and answered questions about this vehicle.

But this does bring on an important consideration. If a state government is issued approximately 10,000 vehicles every year, wouldn’t it make sense to either…

A) Enact some minimal standards on how these vehicles are marketed so that the taxpayers get a fair return? I mean for cryin’ out loud, the 2007 Crown Vic Police Interceptor has only one picture. With all the time cops have to spend in those things, wouldn’t it make sense to at least open a door, sit in a seat, and click a button?

or

B) Let someone else do it. No, I wouldn’t encourage some gypsy auction company to come by and quick hammer the vehicles to a few of the connected locals (and Lord knows we have plenty of those.) The Govdeals.com site is fine. It’s the presentation that needs work.

 

 

I don’t know about you guys but this one is on my short list. You can find the rest of the vehicles here. Please bid. I want my taxes to go down for once.

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39 Comments on “Hammer Time: What Recession?...”


  • avatar
    IHateCars

    There’s a few interesting machines in there…I’m assuming that “donated” is a euphemism for seized?

  • avatar
    areader

    Seems obvious that they want no/few bidders so they can get them cheap.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Your tax dollars at hard work.

    Any person who actually works for a living or, god forbid, owns their own business, reads this article, realizes the core truths it contains (and that those are just the proverbial AND literal tip of the fantastic waste iceberg), and feels their blood boiling.

    I have a relative who works as a civilian employee at a U.S. Army heavy vehicle (i.e. tanks and armored personnel carriers) research and rehabilitation facility, and if I relayed what he tells me about the vast waste of taxpayer dollars that transpires there (even if one assumes he embellishes quite a bit – which he actually doesn’t), most people (even those who think that they’re impervious to such things by now) would probably claim that I am “making things up.”

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      Worked for a living? You apparently have never worked in corporate America.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Indeed I have, and if you know anything about the current workplace atmosphere of even the largest of global corporations, you’d know that, nearly without exception, it’s an extremely stressful time to an employee, since such corporations are literally squeezing the last tenth of productivity out of every employee and piece of equipment.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        “such corporations are literally squeezing the last tenth of productivity out of every employee and piece of equipment.”

        Hah! Let me walk around my office and report back.

        Surfing the internet, surfing the internet, work, surfing, talking to teacher at school, surfing… yeh.. everyone is totally swamped.

    • 0 avatar
      Onus

      I know exactly what you mean. I worked at my local town Government. For 5 years until January in Information Technology. Its crazy.

      In the end they let me go for ‘restructuring.’ Which evidently only included me, since i still talk to a ton of people there. You know the guy who only made 8,000 a year working part time and going to college.

      I’m sure they have already blown the money on something stupid by now. It’s sickening as a tax payer to see how they spend our money.

    • 0 avatar
      skor

      How would you like job that provides a pension of $132K per year? Cadillac health care plan? 75% survivor benefits? How would you like to retire at 42 years of age? It’s all possible if you can get hired as a New Jersey cop.

      Here is just one example of the above:

      http://www.nj.com/morris/index.ssf/2013/02/parsippanys_retiring_police_ch.html

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        This isn’t some rumor mongering or “inflammatory & tall tale”: In the county where I live AND the one next to ours (in Michigan), there are numerous city & county officials who are now on their 3rd government stint, having retired from their prior government positions with full retirement pensions (padded as they are, where government employees collude to “get” the soon-to-retire workers overtime hours way up in their final years), and who now work full time for government again, while collecting one or two full pensions from prior government jobs.

      • 0 avatar
        skor

        Same thing happens in Jersey. A cop in the town where I live recently retired from the PD and received a $97K pension. A few weeks later he was hired as the township manager at $125K. The town council claims the town is getting a bargain because they don’t have provide him with health care, it’s included with his cop pension.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Those are very similar figures to what we see in Oakland and Macomb County, in Michigan.

        In fact, Macomb County (next to where I live) went to a County Executive form of government recently, and the ex-Sheriff is now the 1st County Executive there, and upon “retiring” from his sheriff post, not long received his full pension, but a $560,000 ‘DRIP’ payment, and is now making well over $120k as the new County Executive.

        It’s just one of many examples of government literally raping the citizens here.

      • 0 avatar
        skor

        Then there’s the Port Authority cop who “earned” $166K in OT.

        http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/port-authority-employee-earns-more-166k-overtime-pay-163025471.html

  • avatar
    David Hester

    We use an auction service call Public Surplus to handle our disposals. How and when governments decide to auction off their surplus vehicles are a mystery to me. We keep most of our vehicles at least ten years. We still have a few 2001- 2002 model year Crown Vics in the fleet, but they’re mostly relegated to service as pool cars and only the nicest ones remain. Most of the 2000- 2002 models were disposed of in 2011. On the other hand, we just got rid of a couple of 1999 model year Explorers at the end of December. Those were probably the last of those in the fleet and had around 150,000 miles on them. However, they got rid of one of my old whips, a 2000 Crown Vic with less than 90K on it earlier in the year. I’ve also seen 8- 9 year old cars with mileage in the 40K range go up on the block.

    There’s no rhyme or reason to it. All we know is that once your car has over 120K on it and/ or is more than 10 years old, then the day will come when you shop it for a scheduled round of preventative maintenance and the Fleet Services manager will call you a short time later to come clean all of your personal stuff out of it because you’re not getting it back.

    Of course, some of it depends on how many new cars are expected to be bought during the fiscal year. If the elected officials have forsaken us, then cars with 100K+ keep rolling. If they have favored us and the local Ford dealer with a fat fleet order, than some of the 90K cars will get sold for a higher margin than they will fetch the following year with 115K on them. Right now we are in the midst of lean years, with only about 20 of the new Taurus based Police Interceptors purchased this fiscal year. That’s not very many when the total police fleet is 600+ vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I hear from my brother the police officer that his dept for years purchased the “LT Fleet” edition of the W Impala/3900 as patrol cars which according to him isn’t the police edition but is in fact what it says, the taxi/fleet version (naturally I jag him on being a taxi driver). Yeah… don’t buy those for patrol cars if you are a large or medium size municipality, or perhaps his people just hoon them to death I can’t be sure. Evidently most of them go/have gone through about 3-4 transmissions in the first 3 years/100K, and while the plan is to quickly phase them out for the 2013 Taurus Police, the best laid plans of municipality and men have gone astray thus far.

      There have been incidents where suspects have sped up so quickly the officers involved couldn’t accelerate in enough time to catch them because their cars’ trannies’ were dying and said suspects easily got away. Ironically the incident that comes to mind was last year and it specifically involved a rented Taurus SHO, as the story goes a suspected drug runner/deliverer after being spotted making deliveries was able to Ecoboost it past two officers in pursuit and the chase was called off for legal and safety reasons.

      Sounds like your department was fortunate enough to have some Panthers to fall back on until things are fiscally sorted out. I’m sure you would be envied.

      • 0 avatar
        David Hester

        Having a home fleet where cars are assigned to individual officers allows us to keep them for a lot longer based on time rather than mileage. Like I said, around the 120K mark, your car is on the bubble and could be deadlined at any time. usually what happens is that it comes in needing a repair that’s either somewhat complicated and/ or expensive. As long as all it needs are oil changes, we’ll keep an old Crown Vic running past the 120K mark without worrying about the car’s chronological age. that’s how some of our cars reach the 160- 175k mark. However, the minute it needs a repair costing more than whatever the magic dollar figure is, it’s out of service.

        That magic dollar figure is a moving target as well, depending on what part of the fiscal year we’re in. At the beginning of the FY (July) when the Fleet maintenance budget is fat, it might be worth it to drop a grand on a transmission repair for a 7 year- old car with 100K miles. The same repair in April or May on a 9 year- old car with 90K miles might be a deal breaker.

        We bought a few Impalas back in 2002 for use as detective and admin cars. Most of them have either been dumped or are assigned to the sectors as unmarked pool cars. We never used them for patrol work. Same with the Dodge Charger. Bought a few 6- cylinder models for the detective bureau in 2006 and then never again.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    It sounds as if they don’t really need the Impala. Why should they keep a car that doesn’t get much use? It’s not as if the cost of ownership is zero.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Then why did they purchase it in the first place or keep it for this long?

      OPM. That’s why.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        If the car was bought new, then the city has owned it for eight years. “They” was likely comprised of different people then than it is today.

        In any case, even if it was a terrible purchase decision then (perhaps it was, perhaps it wasn’t), that doesn’t necessarily mean that they should keep it today. You don’t fix a mistake by repeating it.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Just further proof that the system is broken, given that it’s been so lightly used, despite the fact that the fixed costs of ownership & maintenance of such an asset, not to mention the initial acquisition cost, are high.

        And this is in a red state…where more people (probably) as a % of the population actually howl about such “waste.”

        The “theys” shift quite a bit (or not, which may be worse), purchasing and maintenance decisions are pulled out of their asses, again, because it’s not their money, and the “theys” will get around to selling such unnecessary things purchased with taxpayer monies when they “get to it,” which might be today, or just as arbitrarily, tomorrow.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        What apparently isn’t broken is the willingness of some people to rush to judgment based upon little to no information.

        You really don’t have any idea whether the car was once needed or not. You have no idea why they’re selling it now.

        That you feel so compelled to be so opinionated about something for which you have no facts says more about you than it does about those whom you are critiquing. Logical reasoning begins by gathering facts, then reaching conclusions based upon those facts. It doesn’t start by getting agitated with no facts to support an emotional response.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        @deadweight

        Seems like if it is paid for, the city should keep it. After all, as a recent posting said, the impala is the cheapest car to run known to man. It’s not like a city is individually insuring and paying registration on it. They probably even have their own mechanic to do the maintenance. Keep the thing and don’t buy another one when the next need comes.

        My city is quite good at this, they keep the city cars pretty much forever, they just get handed down to less important uses. The cops get the new ones. Still have some of the old square Crown Bricks around.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        The old Volvos might be cheaper depending on the metrics, but I agree Impala might be the cheapest available to fleets.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Keep in mind many municipal vehicles get driven for very short distances but often are used every day and may have an enormous amount of idling time, They age out due to very high cycles and time not mileage,,,,They may have to endure far more wear and tear than a 30K a year highway queen….

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        @golden- That’s what I meant in my other statement about “not buying these at nearly any price.”

        There are few things worse for any motor than idling excessively. The more hours spent idling as a % of miles driven, the worse the adverse toll.

    • 0 avatar
      Acd

      If they don’t need it then it is good idea to get rid of it. If they have recently purchased other newer cars while having this car already then that is a different matter. Why spend $30,000 for a new car when they’ve already got this low mileage Impala?

      By doing such a lousy job of merchandising these cars and not showing them to their fullest they are not as appealing to customers and may not sell for as much as they could. Government should be obligated to make sure that they get the most out of every dollar they have since they exist on confiscated money, aka taxes.

  • avatar
    NewLookFan

    I worked for a municipality for close to 40 years, and low mileage middle-aged cream puffs being sent to auction were far and few between. The vehicles where I worked were rarely driven on the highway. The vast majority of miles were short trips where the vehicle barely reached operating temperature. The best retired vehicles were those assigned to senior management, the rest ran for 10 years or more with 50 – 70K. “Our” patrol cars were retired when they exceeded 150K, and people still bid insane prices for cars that had been regularly hammered, battered and nearly all city miles.

    Was this Impala used by the plain clothes officers? I see it’s in the patrol car parking lot. Still want it?

    Some of you may think any of these vehicles are bargains offered up by inept government agencies, but I wouldn’t give a moon and sixpence for 98% of them. They’re too used up, but the sheeple will bid premium prices anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I wouldn’t buy it at (nearly) any price for the very reason you cite. Police and municipal vehicles likely spent as much if not more time idling in the parking lot of some fast food place or shopping center as they did actually driving (which is fine if you’re not having to pay for the gas…OPM).

    • 0 avatar
      David Hester

      I’m not seeing any plugged up antenna holes in the trunklid or roof of that Impala. I’m going to guess it was used as some other non- police government vehicle.

  • avatar
    David Hester

    Looks like, for whatever reason, the people who were given the use of these cars preferred to drive the Fords instead. The two 2005 Taurus SE being offered for sale next to the Impala and the Crown Vic have 72K and 99K on them.

  • avatar
    Ron B.

    Australia, which has just dumped a socialist labor party government. While in power,they had this brilliant idea to keep the states vehicle fleet ‘young’ .It saves on maintenance,you actually dont do any. The cars would be easier to sell if they only had 40,000 kms on them and when and if they reached 5 years old they were sent to Auction. Many would hit the 40K mark within a year so off they went.
    Now,there is a deeper more interesting slant to this and it involved car manufacturers in cohouts with finance companies . Both were interested in making a lot of money quickly and nothing is more desirable than a fool with access to a lot of other peoples money. Especially as elected fool.
    After a year of this,used car dealers began to bitch long and hard about their falling sales. no one would buy a late model Holden at $20,000 when they could head for the Auction and buy one for less than $10,000 and one previous owner.
    Around 2003 the number of 40K cars began to turn to a flood and it got to the point where the auction company had a 200 acre site full of cars waiting for buyers with many more stored around the state . Then 2008 hit…. . The finance company ran for the hills and the manufactures were bailed out by a socialist Labor federal government.It remains to be seen what happens now that a real state government has been elected but so far ,nothing has changed since 2008 and the market is still full of used ex government cars many of which can be bought for crazy low prices. This has resulted in Holden saying it needs help from the government to retain jobs…again.

    • 0 avatar
      cognoscenti

      Holden Commodore/Vauxhall VXR8 (for readers on the U.S. side of the pond, I’m referring to the Pontiac G8)! Go. Buy. Now.

    • 0 avatar
      vanwestcoaster

      Check your facts before your fingers hit the keyboard. Australia is currently governed by the Labor Party (that would be your “socialist labor” party…). The country is heading to the polls later this year, but Julia Gillard’s party is currently in control. Your example may be from one of Australia’s states; I believe voters in at least two states recently turfed labor governments – or maybe you have an amazing crystal ball – too bad you didn’t lend it to Mitt Romney in the U.S. :)

    • 0 avatar
      Bluto

      Now this is a laughably ignorant post, but I must say it is always entertaining to see Americans try and inject their idiotic partisan politics into Australian Culture!

      First off, the party you describe as ‘socialist’ is totally indistinguishable from their conservative opponents. Pretty much every politician in Australia would classify as a socialist by your reckoning. The all support socialised health care, they all support equal rights for women and minorities, they all support a large and well funded government and bureaucracy. Because it has worked for us for 100 years, and that’s the way we like it. Also, ‘socialists’ in Australia are actually legit communists. The Australian Socialist party even recently brought over a bunch of Black Panthers to do a speaking tour!

      Second, manufacturers being bailed out by a socialist government. This is accurate, in that every government Australia has ever had has lavished tax breaks and financial support on local car manufacturers. Even more entertainingly, the conservative elements of Australian politics support government assistance to industry as much, if not more so than the liberal side of things.

      Third, Commodore sales dropping off due to fleet buyers. This is total bullshit, no doubts about it. Australia has undergone a somewhat similar change in car purchasing as the US – small, efficient cars are more and more popular, and when people want a big car, these days they want an SUV. Holden has been laughably slow to catch up with the SUV game, hence their shitty, shitty Captiva being constantly spanked by the competent Ford Territory (at least in raw sales).

      Fourth (and finally), your suggestion that all government fleet cars were sold at 40,000km. This certainly may be true of federal fleet cars, but since our capital is barren, freezing dump containing less than 350,000 people, the vast majority of fleet sales are made up of state government sourced cars. And the vast majority of those are sold at 60,000km.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’m not an Impala expert, but I didn’t know one could get the 3800 in the base trim level. I thought you had to upgrade to the “LT”.

    Was it a fleet option or am I just remembering wrong?

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I thought the same thing, it’s likely part of a fleet package. I say this because I don’t think I’ve ever seen a municipal/taxi/police fleet Impala of this generation without the 3800.

  • avatar
    Glen.H

    Sorry, got no sympathy for anyone in Australia or the United States who complains about how much tax they pay.

  • avatar
    vaujot

    Lots of complaining about wasteful government actions in this thread (and article). How about involving yourselves in local and state politics to change this.

  • avatar
    jeffzekas

    I was a state employee for 30 years, and our vehicles were, literally, run into the ground. In fact, many of our cop cars were dangerously unreliable, as the shop mechanics had to keep patching them together, to keep them running!


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