That prompted a series of phone calls that got more incredible as the day wore on. A Valley Regional Transit spokesman confirmed that a maintenance manager and a deputy director of the government funded organization indeed made the decision to give away the publicly owned property.
The spokesman identified the bus as one of six 1995 “clean burning natural gas” models that were pulled out of service after two caught fire within a year. He said efforts to sell the fire “exploding buses” to other municipalities were unsuccessful.
He also said that managers determined it would be “too costly” to attempt to salvage parts (presumably seats, wheels, tires, etc.). So, when a staff mechanic employed by the government agency expressed an interest in acquiring a bus to take home, the management people simply gave away the government property. It now resides in the Emmett area.
We talked to numerous government agencies and absolutely NONE of them would dare give away any government property. It is to be disposed of at public auction or traded for new equipment, according to various state and local laws.
We are absolutely astounded that no one at Valley Transit understands the ramifications of giving away government property. The spokesman tried to spin the obvious misdeed as “well intentioned managers” getting rid of old busses. Never mind they were purchased with federal funds and taxes from Boise City among others.
There is no way any police or fire department would just give employees a police car or fire truck that was no longer in service—let along a 45 passenger BUS!
“There was no policy in place at the time–about 8 months ago– with regard to disposal of property, but we instituted a policy to clarify the process shortly after the give away,” said the spokesman.
Of the five remaining buses, he told the GUARDIAN one was scrapped at a junk yard for free and the other four were donated to the Boise Police and Fire Departments, presumably for training.
Here is where it gets even more incredible: We contacted various deputy chiefs and training officers at both the police and fire department and BOTH said they have no knowledge or recollection of getting any bus ever from Valley Transit. Could have happened, but they don’t know about it.
By our math, that leaves four busses unaccounted for. Send any tips to the GUARDIAN.
This should give a lot of confidence to those legislators who being asked to consider a local option tax for transportation.
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