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Posted at 12:08 PM ET, 03/25/2011

SUV crackdown won’t change how Henderson rolls

It looks like the gas-guzzling SUV and driver that acting Chancellor Kaya Henderson uses for official duties will both survive the vehicle procurement crackdown in the wake of Fully-Loadedgate. Her city-owned 2004 Chevy Tahoe is one of 42 SUVs purchased by the city after the D.C. Council passed a 2002 law barring vehicles that get less than 22 miles per gallon — unless they’re used for emergencies or security. Henderson’s does 14 mpg in the city, according to the EPA.

But council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), chairman of the Public Works and Transportation Committee, which is completing a final report on the city fleet, said, in essence, what’s done is done.

“I don’t see it as a big issue for her,” Wells said. “We want everybody on notice going forward we’re trying to meet the intent of the law, and that we’re trying to be a more sustainable city. You have to do better than 22 miles per gallon.”

Henderson’s driver will also probably stay, despite a law that says only the mayor gets one, unless authorization has been worked out in advance. The employment agreement of her predecessor, Michelle A. Rhee, called for “an appropriate vehicle and a driver for school district business.” Henderson will almost certainly get the same contractual provision after her virtually certain confirmation in May.

For anybody who’s interested, DCPS uses a total of 45 leased or owned vehicles for everything from athletic events to food delivery to security, according a recent D.C. Council filing. Rental expenses run $8,523 per month. The priciest single monthly lease: $622 for a 2009 Nissan Quest 3.5, a minivan used for “Pre-kindergarten special education community outreach and assessment,” according to the filing.

Gas mileage: 16 mpg in the city.

By  |  12:08 PM ET, 03/25/2011

 
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