County bought new vehicles despite stockpile

Miami-Dade official says procedures have changed

Author: Jeff Weinsier, Investigative Reporter, jweinsier@Local10.com
Published On: Apr 19 2012 06:20:54 PM EDT   Updated On: Apr 20 2012 02:12:21 PM EDT
MIAMI -

Local 10 has learned that while new 2006 and 2007 Miami-Dade County vans and pickup trucks were sitting idle, gathering dust and not being used, the county went and bought even more similar vehicles. 

From 2008 to 2010, records show Miami-Dade County bought 161 new vans and 203 new pickup trucks. That's 364 vehicles at a cost to taxpayers of $5.1 million. 

"It is hard to understand the rationale for those decision points. We were not involved in the administration and management at that time," said  Lester Sola, director of Internal Services for Miami-Dade County. 

Sola was brought in by Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez to streamline. One of his missions is to clean out the Earlington Heights Metrorail Station garage, where Local 10  found new county vehicles stockpiled. 

Local 10 discovered more than 100 county vehicles, worth more than $1 million, bought back in 2006, 2007 and 2010, just sitting. 

The county said things have changed. 

"Every time we receive a request from a department, regardless whether it's police, water and sewer or fire, we are analyzing that request and making sure before we go to market and replace a vehicle we don't have it in storage," Sola said. 

Miami-Dade Commissioner Javier Souto said he knew about the stockpile of fleet vehicles two years ago.

"I spoke about it several times," Souto said. 

"And you were ignored by the administration back then?" asked Local 10's Jeff Weinsier. 

"Well, you said it," said Souto. 

"We as commissioners have no administrative powers. There is no way we know what each department is buying every day," said Miami Dade Commissioner Rebeca Sosa. 

Gimenez said he not going to sell those vehicles when the county will eventually need them and they are paid for. 

"If you sell them, you will only get 10 cents on the dollar, and these are brand-new vehicles. If I sell them all, next year I will have to buy new ones at 100 percent," said the mayor.