Council member upset over 'hot rod' - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Council member upset over 'hot rod'

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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Memphis City Council member Kemp Conrad is hot under the collar over a city-owned vehicle. It has a shiny red finish, an R-T emblem on the grill for Racing Technology, and a hood scoop.

"It's got a red paint job, and the division director describes it as a hot rod," Conrad said.

It's also a Memphis City vehicle. Conrad says General Services Director Estrice Boone should not be behind the wheel of the candy-red Dodge Charger on the taxpayers' dime.

"This isn't just about the hot rod, but it's about a fleet of city-owned cars that are taken home every night," Conrad said.

According to Boone, the Charger was a wrecked Memphis Police Department vehicle that General Services repaired, taking parts from other wrecked city vehicles. 

The RT emblem wasn't on the original, along with the magnum and the hood scoop. It cost about $3,400 to repair the car - much less than buying new.

"I consider this a good thing that the city of Memphis is saving dollars tax payer dollars," Boone said.

Boone added General Services does the same thing with other vehicles, but they may not be as fancy.

Meanwhile, Conrad called car perks inappropriate in light of the slow economy and major cuts looming.

"We have this CAO who's foreshadowing drastic cuts in service with the 50 million we asked to reduce, which is less than 10 percent of the budget, but when I leave City Hall at night, I see division director after division director driving their city cars home," Conrad said.

So, Conrad asked the city to cough up information.

"A list of all city-owned cars - take-home cars - that are driven by directors and deputy directors," he said. "We have about 45 deputy directors and directors, and also what that costs every year for fuel, for maintenance, for insurance."

He admits some division directors do need city cars.

"There are some directors that probably need cars. The police director, the fire director, public works...they're out at night responding to emergencies. But we've got a pool of cars at City Hall," he said.

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