Robinson Calls For Commissioners to Give Up Vehicles
La Plata, MD - 1/31/2012
By Andy Marquis
Charles County Commissioner Ken Robinson (D: 1st) proposed a motion to no longer allow commissioners to take home vehicles. The motion, which was defeated in a 3-2 vote, was proposed because Robinson felt it could be considered as an unauthorized pay raise.
The motion came up during debate over tightening the existing the procedures in regards to employee take home vehicles. The average cost to Charles County taxpayers for each vehicle is about $6,700 a year. The take home vehicles are considered a fringe benefit which is taxable income by the Internal Revenue Service.
Robinson put forth a motion, which ended up being seconded by Commissioner President Candice Quinn Kelly (D).
“You have to have clearly defined descriptions of a fringe benefit,” Commissioner Vice President Reuben Collins said. “To say it’s an unauthorized pay raise is extreme.”
“If there are taxes taken out, one can assume that it’s income,” Robinson replied.
“How are you defining it,” Collins asked. “What you’re addressing is your opinion.”
Kelly interjected, saying it would be considered a salary increase in the business world.
“I do not see the need for any commissioner to have a vehicle,” she said.
She also said that taxpayers had to buy their own groceries, pay for their own gas at over $3 per gallon and had to deal with their own vehicle expenses and she did not feel comfortable asking taxpayers to provide a vehicle for elected officials.
Kelly and Robinson were the only commissioners to vote in favor of Robinson’s motion. Collins and Commissioners Debra Davis (D: 1st) and Bobby Rucci (D: 4th) voted against it.