The 10 fleet services people are tasked with maintaining and repairing everything from sedans and light trucks to garbage trucks, dump trucks and road construction equipment like backhoes, loaders, graders and asphalt pavers. In addition, police cars and lawn mowers come under the fleet services care.
“Each (personnel) vacancy was reevaluated and determined that cross-training of current technicians would be a viable option to cover those vacant positions,” he added.
Kirkman said that because Fleet Services has been in operation only since last fall, it is too early to tell exactly how much the savings benefits of centralization will be to the city; however, he believes it will have considerable benefits to the budget for the city of 55,000.
“Combining all technicians into a centralized fleet repair facility has been a daunting task. The city of Pocatello has not created a new department in many, many years so there were not a lot of resources to assist in this process,” he said.
Pocatello’s research leading up to the centralization resulted in implementing new policies and procedures that mean better tracking of vehicle and equipment maintenance and repairs in addition to streamlining purchasing across city departments. Kirkman said he expects these factors to result in saving both money and time for the city.
“We believe our efforts will be well worth it,” he said. “Our attitude has been, just because we have always done something a certain way doesn’t mean there isn’t room for reevaluation and improvement.”
He added that a major factor in the success of the centralizing effort has been the encouragement of the city’s mayor, Brian Blad, and the city council.
Future plans for the newly centralized operation include working toward ASE certification for Pocatello Fleet Services’ technicians as well as expanding the number of departments served by it.