- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 17, 2014

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The Louisiana Public Service Commission refused on Wednesday to turn over seven vehicles to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration to be sold at auction early next year.

Without objection, the five elected members of the utility regulatory agency backed a resolution directing its staff not to relinquish the vehicles. The commission said it doesn’t have the money to rent cars, and selling its vehicles would hinder its work.

The Jindal administration planned to confiscate and sell them, along with 700 other state vehicles in a cost-cutting move. The administration said they aren’t used enough to justify continued maintenance costs and the sale could bring in up to $1.4 million for the budget.

“Of the 13 state vehicles at the Public Service Commission, 11 of them are driven less than 15,000 miles a year. The cost of maintaining underutilized vehicles is greater than the cost of reimbursing employees for travel when it’s necessary,” Jan Cassidy, the administration’s assistant commissioner of procurement, said in a statement.

Administration officials notified agencies about the planned sale last week, giving them two weeks to turn over the vehicles tagged for auction. But the administration didn’t say Wednesday whether it would try to seize the commission’s vehicles, now that it has balked at the order.

The commission also objects to taking its property, selling it and using the dollars to balance other parts of the budget. The resolution says the vehicles were paid for with dedicated fees collected for utility regulation and to sell those vehicles and use the money elsewhere would violate limits governing the agency’s money.

A similar dispute between the commission and the Jindal administration over diversion of agency funds to other parts of the budget is the subject of a pending lawsuit.


The short headline on a previous version of this story said Louisiana rejected a request to sell the vehicles. It was a Louisiana commission.

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