Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 8:51 a.m.
How many uses could there possibly be for a gigantic garbage truck, and how hard could it be to fill out a little tiny form when it gets filled up with gas? According to data coming out of Belle Glade, the answer to the first one is "more than one," and the answer to the second is, uh, "really, really difficult."
The paper trail attached to this truck raises several questions -- records for mileage and fuel use show fudged numbers every step of the way and suggest that somebody in Belle Glade is using this truck in ways that aren't what the city paid for.
According to data scrounged up by activist and MAOS blogger Chaz Stevens
on a tip, the lovely white truck pictured above was purchased last April. Between April 2011 and February 3 of this year, it accrued about 5,200 miles on its odometer and took 3,600 gallons of fuel out of the city pump.
But between February and April of this year, something changed. Until then, the truck had averaged 17.5 miles per day. Then, in less than two months, it added 6,549 miles to the odometer -- suddenly accruing mileage at a rate of 93.6 per day.
To review -- the first ten months of life: 5,200 miles. The next two months alone: 6,549.
Who's using this truck?
The gas logs get screwy around that time too -- in addition to apparently falsified records (the mileage is incorrectly recorded as "4321" two dozen times on gas receipts), the truck used only 584 gallons of gas between February and April 2012.
That means one of two things -- either the city found a magical way of improving the truck's gas mileage from 1.4 mpg to 11.2 mpg, or somebody was filling that truck elsewhere.
What was this truck doing that whole time? Why would the mileage per day jump 435 percent? Has anyone questioned Belle Glade employee Kenneth Archer about his habit of writing random numbers on the odometer line of his forms? Where is the rest of the gas coming from?
There are plenty of questions, but Belle Glade Solid Waste Manager Johnny Gooden said he couldn't comment without permission from City Manager Lomax Harrelle. Numerous messages to Harrelle via phone and email went unreturned; I'll gladly update with comment from him if he wants to give it.
There's definitely more to this hidden in records that we haven't gotten to yet, but the fill-up records alone suggest something funny going on; maybe the state's attorney will act on the complaint Stevens filed about the matter. In any case, here's a graph of the odometer readings that could actually be readings and aren't just random silly numbers like 4321: