GRAND RAPIDS, MI - Grand Rapids City Manager Gregory Sundstrom recently proposed cutting use of 24-hour take-home vehicle assignments by 23 percent, effective Feb. 1, 2010.

Currently, 106 city vehicles are assigned to employees on a twenty-four hour basis. Of these assignments, thirteen vehicles are assigned for seasonal use, i.e., during the winter season or construction season.

Six seasonal assignments of twenty-four hour vehicles will remain during the winter season, with seven of the current seasonal assignments revoked. Within the Fire Department, four of the eight twenty-four hour vehicle assignments will be revoked, leaving the Fire Chief, Deputy Fire Chiefs, and Assistant Fleet Maintenance Supervisor with continuing assignments. In the Police Department, nine of the 78 twenty-four hour vehicle assignments will be revoked. Twenty-four hour vehicle assignments in the Police Department will remain for the Detective Unit, Special Response Team, K-9 Unit, Vice Unit, and Police Chief and Deputy Police Chief.

The vehicles previously assigned to employees on a twenty-four hour basis will remain assigned to them during their work hours. Additionally, any employee use of their personal vehicle for City work is reimbursed to the employee at the Federal rate - excluding any travel to and from home.

While Sundstrom said he understood the "issue is highly controversial" and that "the action will cause a negative reaction from the affected employees," he said doing so would "send a clear message to our employees and community that the City is taking every action to reduce our costs during this very difficult economic period."