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First Selectman Wants to Govern on Four-Wheels

First Selectman Steve Vavrek is requesting a four-wheel-drive vehicle in the 2013-14 budget to allow him to get around in all types of terrain.

Winter brings snow, sleet and ice, which can make it harder to get around when you have two-wheel-drive and are always on call. First Selectman Steve Vavrek is asking for $30,000 in his 2013-14 budget for a car with four-wheel-drive.

"It hinders a the first selectman not to have four-wheel-drive when it's 24/7," Vavrek said of his job.

Vavrek told the Town Council during a budget workshop last Thursday that he believes the town will be able to buy a car for less than $30,000, adding the town should save money on gas efficiency too. The vehicle would be passed on from first selectman to first selectman.

Vavrek said first selectmen in other towns have four-wheel-drive vehicles, which are more efficient.

Council members asked if the police department has a four-wheel drive vehicle that could be converted for Vavrek's use, but he said all of the police vehicles are being used.

Nancy B. February 19, 2013 at 02:21 PM
I'm sorry, I didn't realize that the Town of Monroe was responsible for buying a car for the First Selectman. Is that in our charter? If this comes to fruition, the First Selectman should be made aware that driving that vehicle for anything other than work (and that means commuting to work is not work) is considered taxable income to him and he will be issued a 1099 from the town for the personal use of the vehicle. With all the other expenditures in our budget that we debate I just don't see purchasing a vehicle.
jim laguardia February 19, 2013 at 02:36 PM
You have got to be kidding.... he made comments about driving around in the city trucks during the storm, when his allready town provided Crown Vic can't make it around just call a city truck
Donna Gail February 19, 2013 at 03:16 PM
He wants to keep being able to say he's out there with the highway dept during the storms, when he should stay off the roads like the rest of us.
Crown Royal February 19, 2013 at 03:37 PM
Exactly what needs to be done from Town Hall? Couldn't he do this work from home. It seems like gotomypc.com would be a much cheaper alternative...
Walt February 19, 2013 at 04:09 PM
I would wager the police chief has a four wheel drive as well as some in the fire department like the fire marshall or chiefs, he should have one as well. He should be able to get to town hall as needed, and he should be here in emergencies not hanging out at home because the 12 year old crown vic can't get around in the snow. Otherwise just work from home every day on gotomypc, why should anyone at town hall bother coming in?
QWERTY February 19, 2013 at 04:43 PM
Why doesn't he purchase a four-wheel drive vehicle like the rest of us? Or perhaps a set of snow tires with chains? Why would the town spend $30K on a vehicle that would only be of proper use 1-2 weeks out of the year? No offense, but the first selectman didn't do anything for me during the storm. I'd rather that money go towards plow maintenance which the entire town would benefit from.
Chief Waldo February 19, 2013 at 04:47 PM
Has he tried snow tires? Also, four wheel drive does NOT save on gas. It uses more fuel than an equivalent two wheel drive vehicle, and costs more to purchase, too. The first Selectman isn't a first responder. There is no comparison with the need of police, fire and EMS to respond to an emergency in poor weather conditions, and the need for the First Selectman to get Town Hall.
Alex February 19, 2013 at 04:59 PM
Absolutely not. If this is still in the budget by the time we're voting, I will vote no. Next he'll be asking for a backup generator system for his house so he can work from home during these emergencies, and not risk his safety. This a perfect example of wasteful spending.
jim laguardia February 19, 2013 at 08:01 PM
Lets take half of the $30k and give the part time Librarians their raise for the first year.
Peg February 19, 2013 at 11:11 PM
Really?
Peg February 19, 2013 at 11:13 PM
NO!
a. bacco February 20, 2013 at 01:55 AM
Monroe was the fastest and best-plowed town in the area after the biggest blizzard in decades. If the Crown Vic worked for this past storm, it should work for the next.
Bullmastiff February 20, 2013 at 03:36 AM
NO
Donna Gail February 20, 2013 at 02:11 PM
He says it hinders him as a first selectman not to have 4-wheel drive - what are we, Vermont?
Crown Royal February 20, 2013 at 02:16 PM
Has the crown vic gotten stuck around town during one of these emergencies he was forced to leave his house for? Because that is the only thing 4WD is really good for, getting out of a stuck situation. It effects on driving traction are minimal.
PlumbBob February 20, 2013 at 02:45 PM
"First Selectman Wants"....Ya, so do I, join the club. I know the Ford is getting old, and would even agree we should start PLANNING on replacement, but you can't just stick your hand out and expect a new set of keys. Especially not this year! Why wouldn't the town budget towards a new vehicle by requesting partial funding each year be delegated towards a reserve. 5K a year for 6yrs is your 30K vehicle. If handled in that manner you don't drop a bomb on the town asking for it all at once. Plan ahead! 6 yrs of town usage should still have a more than capable vehicle to use. Or even better, 3K a year for 10 yrs and there is a new vehicle, everyone knows what is in the budget and there are no surprises. New vehicles should easily last 10 years. Lets add it to recurring expenses and budget properly. Perhaps a new vehicle would get better mileage the the Crown Vic, but surely the increased insurance would offset that. We've had a lot of incurred expenses the past year. Several storms, police station improvements, unexpected legal fees adding HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS to expenses, increased taxes (with more being proposed this year). Sorry Mr. Vavrek, this is an unrealistic request from the town this year which most likely will be met with great resistance. Proper planning could eliminate situations like this. There are things we all WANT, but usually we PLAN and BUDGET for these purchases.
Cherith Cutesory February 20, 2013 at 11:56 PM
How about a lease, of the cheapest car we can get? Only to be driven IN TOWN and to official events. That would keep mileage down
Oldblooeyz February 21, 2013 at 02:48 AM
I agree with him. We should just get an SUV, like the police department has.
Jim beam February 21, 2013 at 06:29 PM
A lease on a Ford Taurus would be acceptable. And the personal use portion of the vehicle's mileage should be treated like compensation and deducted from whatever remuneration he should receive. He doesn't need a 4-wheel drive vehicle. Let him hitch a ride during a storm from a DPW truck. For at most 14 days per year he needs a 4-wheel drive vehicle? Not on my dime. Let him use his own vehicle and get reimbursed on a cents per mile basis. Varek sure has nerve, though in requesting this taxpayer funded extravagance.
Wolfe February 23, 2013 at 02:19 AM
NO!!! There is no need for a 4-wheel drive vehicle for Vavrek. If he wants one, then let him buy one!! Vavrek sends out a lot of fantastic warnings about driving on the roads in town because he gets that information from the DPW and Police. I have personally received phone calls from Vavrek and the schools superintendent regarding staying inside and off the roads during poor weather. Well, heed your own advice, Vavrek!!

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