Free Lance Editorial: Council takes easy road with 5-cent mileage

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Hollister officials have proven once again – in their decision to charge a police captain 5 cents a mile to commute 100 miles round trip in a patrol car – that they have no collective backbone.

With the exception of Councilman Robert Scattini, council members have shown little interest in Hollister police Capt. Carlos Reynoso’s daily use of a taxpayer-funded police car to commute to the station. City officials have reasoned that the lone captain on the force must have proper equipment to communicate with other officers in the rare event a major emergency occurs while he is off duty.

Council members essentially brushed aside Scattini’s concern and have offered to let Reynoso continue commuting home – which costs the taxpayers thousands of dollars in gas and maintenance each year on top of already generous compensation for the captain – if he will pay 5 cents per mile while commuting.

This reflects the larger problem in government – a sense of entitlement for every perk possible – and the lacking structural organization that has plagued the city for years. It is an example of the situational management that inherently adds costs to the system.

By principle alone, not to mention the lost revenue at a time when Hollister could face a $3.5 million deficit without a Measure T tax extension, city council members should either charge Reynoso a realistic fee closer to 40 or 50 cents per mile or make him drive his own car to work. Reynoso, like other employees who reside outside the county, has the right to choose where he lives.

Council members took the low road and charged a laughable fee. It doesn’t bode well for the future and a necessity for immense courage from leadership.

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