(WWLP) - All mayors have some perks. Most get a city car to use on the job. The 22News I-Team discovered how often they're filling their cars up on our dime.
The 22News I-Team started digging into this when we found out the Mayor of West Springfield was filling up his personal car at the city gas pump.
Mayors in western Massachusetts usually get a city issued car to use for city business or a stipend to cover expenses on their own car. West Springfield Mayor Greg Neffinger has a city car he chooses not to use.
(You have a city issued car and how often do you use that vs. your own personal car for city business?)
"I would say the city issued car has issues, so I drive my car more often than the city used car," said Mayor Neffinger.
How often? The 22News I-Team discovered how many gallons of gas per month several local mayors were using in 2013.
- Springfield 48.5 gallons per month
- Holyoke 42 gallons per month
- West Springfield 39.7 gallons per month
- Agawam 27.8 gallons per month
- Chicopee 10.4 gallons per month
- Westfield $500 monthly car stipend
(Do you put in reimbursements in terms of what is city business and what is your own personal business?)
"I do it kind of reverse, when I do personal business in my car I fill it up at the gas pump and I keep track of that mileage," said Neffinger.
(Not at the city yard, at a normal gas station?)
"At a normal gas station I pay it out of my own pocket," said Neffinger.
This is the DPW yard in West Springfield where town vehicles fill up. At least one Town Councilor believes the mayor is filling up more than he should.
"In ten minutes he filled up over 20 gallons of gas," said Lida Powell District 2 Councilor
It was two different transactions.
"I'm not sure the year of his vehicle so I looked up between 2004 and 2014 what's the fuel capacity of a Honda accord and its between 17.1 and 17.2 gallons of gas," said Powell
"There's two explanations for that. One I was driving out to Chatham that day for a mayoral conference, I may have decided to fill it up part way but then thinking I'm going to check the mileage on the car then decided I'll then filled it up all the way, almost 19 gallons, almost the capacity of the tank," said Neffinger.
"Otherwise, it may be something with the keying system you may have to log out or something and someone may have pulled up right after me and was using my key number", says Neffinger.
(The same car you did it twice?)
"That's the only thing I can think of", says Neffinger.
Mayor Neffinger told the 22News I-Team taxpayers only pay for his not, not maintenance or repairs.