Apparently one of his salesmen at Freedom Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep Eagle, has convinced the guys that manage the state fleet that in order to add a GPS system to an $18,000 Chrysler 300, it requires a $10,000 engine upgrade!?
GPS? V-8? WTF?
I know that fleet cars are bid on a particular set of packages, so maybe that's the problem.
Here's the thing...My little Garmin 330 cost about $150 bucks and sticks right there on my windshield. It got me back and forth from Kentucky Dam Village recently and I'll bet it would work for Draud too. The little lady in the GPS tells me everytime I turn wrong...even if my wife has already pointed it out.
As for the Chrysler 300 at $18,000 - fine. With a V-8, it is essentially a stripped down police car - right?
It sounds like Draud will pay for trusting the state to do what it does. But it sure beats the days when state Superintendent Alice McDonald had her highly-paid deputies drive her around the state, so that she could concentrate on her shopping.
This from C-J:
Education chief orders state car worth $30,697
Extras boosted price by $13,000
As the Kentucky Department of Education faces transportation and operating cuts, the state's education commissioner is driving a new vehicle, one with options he requested that added $13,000 to its base price.
Jon Draud said the lease had expired on the previous car he had been driving, and the state came to him and asked what kind of car he wanted to drive.
He settled on a 2008 Chrysler 300, which has a base price of $18,101 with standard equipment. With the add-ons requested by Draud, the state ended up paying $30,697 for the car.
"I don't know anything about the cost of the car," Draud said yesterday, while talking from inside his new vehicle. "They asked me what I wanted and I told them I wanted a large car for safety reasons, I wanted a GPS navigation system to help me from getting lost and I wanted a hands-free phone so that I can keep both hands on the wheel."
Joe Brothers, chairman of the state board of education, said last night that the extra cost concerns him.
"We need to be as frugal as possible," he said. "But I do think that the things he asked for are reasonable requests because he does do a lot of driving around the state. Why those extras would cost $13,000 extra, I don't know. But it will be something I will look into tomorrow."
The state bought the vehicle as part of a fleet agreement from Freedom Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep in Lexington. It was delivered about a week ago.
"The base price includes a V-6 engine and in order to get the kind of navigation system he wanted, the engine had to be upgraded to a V-8," said Jim Sawrie, a commercial fleet salesman with the dealership.
According to the delivery order, the upgrade in the engine cost $10,946 and the GPS and hands-free phone system cost $1,650.
Lisa Gross, spokeswoman for the state education department, said it has been cutting back on travel expenses in an effort to trim its operations budget by about 7 percent.
"We've encouraged our employees to try and use alternate ways, whether it be e-mail or setting up a video conference via the Internet … ," she said. "We've also cut back on the number of people who travel, especially if it's traveling out of state."
This is not the first time Draud has been questioned about job benefits during his tenure.
In February, after having been on the job two months, the board approved his request to amend his contract to include 20 days of leave each year instead of the 12 days he was entitled to as a new state employee. The board also approved his request for a one-time bonus of 30 days of sick leave.
The request prompted some, including Gov. Steve Beshear, to question whether the increase was appropriate given the state's budget shortfall.
A day later, Draud withdrew his request.
Beshear could not be reached for comment yesterday.