MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. --
The commanding general, Marine Corps Installations East, issued Policy Letter 004-09 Aug. 20, which published guidance concerning the authorized use of Garrison Mobile Equipment at MCIEAST facilities. It cancelled an earlier Chief of Staff Memorandum on the same subject.
“This policy has been around for years, and is being enforced because of people using government vehicles for personal use,” said Mike Elliott, fleet manager, Garrison Mobile Equipment, Logistics Support Division, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Ga. “It’s illegal to use government vehicles for personal use.”
Government vehicles are provided for official use only, and are not authorized for personal use, such as going to lunch or for personal errands, on or off-base.
“I get calls all the time about Government Services Administration vehicles being seen at restaurants off-base,” he said. “We always run the GSA tag number and see if it’s assigned to this base. If it’s not assigned to this base, there’s nothing I can do about it. If it is assigned to this base, we notify the division and branch where the vehicle is assigned and inform them of where and when the vehicle was seen and provide them with a copy of the policy.”
First Responder emergency personnel, who are on-duty, are authorized to use government vehicles to travel to meals or stops at the convenience store on base.
MCLB Albany has 160 GSA vehicles such as sedans, pick-up trucks, vans or maintenance vehicles, while a base such as Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., may have 1,500 GSA vehicles in service.
“Our managers here have really stepped up and tried to stop any abuse of GSA vehicles, and it’s been five to six months since I’ve seen a vehicle being improperly used,” added Elliott, who drives just his privately owned vehicle on base.
The reporting of possible misuse of GSA vehicles isn’t limited to local reports to Elliott’s office. Citizens also report such incidents to the offices of congressmen and senators, local and out of state, who in turn send a Congressional inquiry here asking for details.
“There are technical support teams based here who are on the road for weeks at a time, out of state. If someone sees a government vehicle parked at a laundromat where the team stopped to do their laundry, they think ‘that’s my tax money being abused,’ and report it to a congressional office. Then we have to track down the details and explain that it’s OK in that case,” Elliott said.
According to the MCIEAST policy letter, violation of the use of government vehicles can result, among other things, in suspension of a workers right to operate a government vehicle.
“The 30-day suspension mentioned in the policy letter is a minimum, which means violators could face longer suspensions of their driving privilege,” said 1st Lt. Sarah L. Ray, adjutant, MCLB Albany. “It also makes it clear that misuse of government vehicles may constitute a violation of the Joint Ethics Regulations.”
Also, the policy letter carries more weight as a commanding general policy letter than it did as a chief of staff memo, Ray added.
To report possible violations of government vehicle usage, call GME at (229) 639-5606/5607.