Commissioners question Lake sheriff’s plan for more vehicles
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent February 24, 2013 5:50PM
Lake County Sheriff John Buncich | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media, file
Updated: February 25, 2013 9:58AM
CROWN POINT — Lake County Commissioners want to know more about how sheriff’s department vehicles are being used before signing off on a more than $375,000 request for 16 more.
Officials also want to make sure the county is in compliance with purchase procedures.
Sheriff John Buncich said he is looking to purchase five Ford Interceptor utility all-wheel drive Explorers and six Ford Interceptor all-wheel drive Taurus sedans for $285,825 from Paul Heuring Ford, and five Dodge Avengers for $90,970 from Thomas Dodge.
The vehicles are part of the department’s replacement program.
Commissioner Mike Repay, D-Hammond, said he is concerned about the potential liability and fuel costs of putting another 16 vehicles on the road if they are in addition to the current vehicles already out there.
“I’d like to see a number. There are X amount of vehicles on the road,” Repay said.
Buncich said some decommissioned vehicles that no longer have use to the county will be included in the sheriff departments’ auction later this spring. The sheriff expects to have a firm number of vehicles to be sold for commissioners next month.
The department also has an extensive pool of vehicles used as back-up if a service vehicle goes down for repairs.
“Basically the number (of cars on the road) stays the same,” Buncich said. He did not provide commissioners with an exact number of vehicles in use.
Commissioner Gerry Scheub, D-Crown Point, said he is concerned if the county moves forward with the purchase officials might be breaking the law. The $376,795 purchase was not put out for bid and the sheriff did not use the state-approved procurement list.
“We have to advertise,” Scheub said.
Officials deferred a decision on the purchase until next month until they have more information available.