The days of using government-leased vehicles for ice cream runs – or any kind of runs, for that matter – are coming to an end.
Premier Rodney MacDonald yesterday announced that cabinet ministers will no longer have the option of driving government-leased cars.
“This ensures that there is clarity on the issue,” he said.
Ministers who currently have government-leased cars will be required to turn them in over the next couple of months and buy their own vehicles, whether the lease is up or not.
This comes on the heels of controversy surrounding Community Services Minister Judy Streatch’s vehicle, which her teenaged son crashed last weekend. He was on his way to the corner store Saturday night in the Ford Escape SUV hybrid to pick up ice cream when he swerved into a ditch. There were no injuries.
Ministers close to the end of their leases will get to keep them till the end, but others, like the premier himself whose lease will be up next year, will have to say goodbye to their wheels. Those cars will go into the government fleet.
Cabinet ministers, the premier and leaders of the opposition previously had three options for vehicles – charging mileage, a monthly allowance and gas card, or a government lease.
Community Services Minister Judy Streatch said Tuesday she regretted the decision to let her 17-year-old use the government vehicle, and she and her son would together pay for any damages to the car, not the taxpayers.
She said she misunderstood the government policy around the use of the vehicle and gave her son Jordan permission to drive it.
Streatch yesterday offered apologies for the outcome of the incident.