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State deals cars to cut costs

Governor Cuomo’s administration is conducting the largest ever on line and in person auction of over 450 used cars and trucks as part of what they call a fleet reduction- to try to save money and cut down on government excess.

There are rows and rows of Crown Victorias, Ford Expeditions and even several Priuses on a large lot on the state office campus just outside the City of Albany, 461 in all.

And they are being offered to the highest bidder on E-Bay, and in person.  

Governor Cuomo’s Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn DeStito, and now part time used car saleswoman, has one of the assistants on the lot demonstrate that a well preserved 2004 Chevy Blazer with 80,000 miles still runs.

But she says test drives aren’t really permitted, because of liability issues.

 “They can get in, they can crawl underneath,” Commissioner DeStito said.

 Joan Stanton, shopping with her father is looking for a new Prius and she says they look good.

“We’ll see how the bidding goes,” Stanton said. 

She says she has some qualms about the lack of a warranty, but says if she succeeds with a low offer, it might be worth the risk.  

 Inside the Winnebago that serves as bidding central, with a generator running, Commissioner DeStitio explains that the sale is part of Governor Cuomo’s efforts to cut down on government excess and inefficiencies.

She says in the future, state agencies who need a car or truck will go to one centralized office to get one.   

While the auction of all of the used cars and trucks might only net about a million dollars, DeStito says much more will be saved on reduced gas and maintenance .

“Governor Cuomo’s focus is on reducing the cost of government operations,” DeStito said.

“And obviously fleet management is one of those areas.”  

Even the Winnebago we are sitting in is for sale- though the Office of General Services was required to let local governments bid first, and Broome County has already snapped up the vehicle for its emergency response operations.

But there are plenty of other cars and trucks for sale on E-Bay, including a vintage 1968 Ford pickup 250 that was, until the giant sale, still used by the parks department.


Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. WBFO listeners are accustomed to hearing DeWitt’s insightful coverage throughout the day, including expanded reports on Morning Edition.