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April 30, 2014

Commissioner calls out sheriff on car washes

NEW CASTLE — A Lawrence County commissioner believes the sheriff and his deputies should wash their cruisers by hand at their homes.

Commissioner Steve Craig refused to vote for payment of the bills at the commissioners meeting Tuesday in Ellwood City, questioning repeated charges from a downtown New Castle car wash.

He said he has asked the sheriff, Perry Quahliero not to use the car wash for the fleet of cars the deputies drive.

The sheriff’s department has eight cars and one van. Some of the deputies take their vehicles home at night.

Craig said he’s just assuming the bills are those of the sheriff’s office, because they have discussed the car wash matter previously.

A bill on this month’s payment register from Jim’s Brushless Car Wash totals $66.

“We’re trying to pinch pennies here,” Craig said.

Instead of them driving the vehicles through the car wash, Craig said, they should wash their cars themselves when they take them home, “and use their own buckets and sponges.”

He acknowledged “it’s not a lot of money but I think its endemic of what the taxpayers get upset about when they see these kinds of expenditures.”

He said he understands using a car wash in the winter, but nicer weather is coming. Commissioners Dan Vogler and Bob Del Signore offered no comment. They voted in favor of paying all the bills.

Craig noted although he and Quahliero generally get along well, “on this particular issue, we disagree.”

Quahliero said Tuesday afternoon that Jim’s Brushless Car Wash gives law enforcement a break on the price of car washes.

He said some of his deputies clean their cars themselves, including the insides, but in some cases they take them through the car wash.

“It’s not like we’re going through the car wash all the time,” he said. “It’s minimal.”

Some of the deputies even wax their own cars, Quahliero pointed out.

He explained the deputies take the cars home because the vehicles have been damaged when they are left in the courthouse lot unattended overnight.

“It’s more cost to repair them than if the guys take them home,” he said, adding, “We’re taking care of the county property, basically.”

The mileage used for his deputies to take the cars home is minimal, he said, noting five of them live within a mile of the courthouse. Two deputies and Quahliero are on call, round-the-clock.

“I’m actually trying to help out on the taxpayers’ money.”

(Email: dwachter@ncnewsonline.com)

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