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W.Va.'s state vehicle fleet chief steps down

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Clay D. Chandler, who was hired to fix widespread and longstanding problems with West Virginia state government's vehicle fleet, has resigned after less than two years on the job.

Chandler, executive director of the West Virginia Fleet Management Office, left his $81,200-a-year position earlier this month, citing personal reasons. His last day was Aug. 10

Acting Administration Secretary Ross Taylor has yet to name Chandler's replacement, and would not comment on his departure.

"All of this was pretty quick," said Diane Holley-Brown, a spokeswoman for the Department of Administration, which oversees the fleet office. "They're continuing operations with the current staff. They're managing the daily duties as required."

The Fleet Management Office is responsible for more than 9,000 state-owned vehicles.

In 2009, a series of audits cited rampant misuse of state vehicles. Auditors concluded that the state spent nearly $70 million a year to operate vehicles with little oversight on how the cars, SUVs and light-duty trucks were assigned or used.

The audit sparked legislation that established the Fleet Management Office. Chandler was hired in October 2010.

During his tenure, he developed more than 30 new forms that agencies and employees are now required to complete. The forms help the Fleet Management Office keep track of the number of government employees assigned state vehicles for commuting.

State workers must disclose information such as "personal miles" and business miles" driven.

The fleet office also now tracks employees' driving records -- including citations, at-fault collisions and revoked and suspended licenses -- through the Division of Motor Vehicles.

In annual reports, Chandler claimed his changes have saved taxpayers millions of dollars a year.

Chandler, who serves as treasurer of the National Conference of State Fleet Administrators, also created a 91-page manual on fleet policy and procedures.

Most recently, he served on Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's Natural Gas Vehicle Task Force, which is evaluating whether it is feasible to transition the vehicle fleet to run on natural gas.

Chandler did not respond to a request for comment on his resignation. His son answered the phone at Chandler's house Friday and suggested that a reporter send questions via email. Chandler did not answer the email.

The Fleet Management Office has four employees and an annual budget of about $7 million.

Chandler previously managed Oklahoma's state government vehicle fleet.

Reach Eric Eyre at ericeyre@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.


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