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The Mayor Should Not Have Leased A Vehicle Without Proper Approval

Mayor Edward Sundquist may have followed the city’s procurement policy, but he still shouldn’t have leased a new vehicle without approval from either JURA or the City Council.

Sundquist said the city requested bids for proposal, receiving five. The only difference with his vehicle is the cost of the lease is a line item for the mayor’s office instead of being a part of JURA’s budget.

But that’s not exactly true.

Former Mayor Sam Teresi’s vehicle was a city fleet vehicle. While driven largely by the mayor, it was available for other city employees should the need have arisen. And, the cost for a fleet sedan was likely much less expensive than the lease on an SUV. The upgrade from a sedan to an SUV counters Sundquist’s assertion that his vehicle was a replacement lease.

The other issue is that JURA had specifications for city fleet vehicles to follow, so Teresi’s use of a fleet vehicle didn’t need any special approval. Changing from a sedan to a more expensive SUV should have had some level of approval, but JURA hasn’t met since April. That means no authorizing board approved the increased cost from the sedan to the SUV.

And, if the plan was to move the cost from JURA to the city’s general fund, then the lease surely should have been approved by the City Council before it was signed.

Does the mayor need a vehicle? Perhaps, though one could argue that the need is drastically less during a pandemic that has forced many meetings to be held online from the office. Should a vehicle different than the last mayor’s vehicle have been leased without approval from either JURA board or the City Council? Absolutely not.

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