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Car rental vendor cuts off state

Thursday, Jul 30, 2015

* A memo from Kelley Wells, the State Travel Coordinator at the Governor’s Travel Control Board…

Please be aware that the State’s car rental vendor, Enterprise, has advised that, effective as of the close of business today, July 29, 2015, it will temporarily suspend direct billing to all State Agencies that participate in the State’s vehicle rental program. Please forward this communication immediately to all personnel at your agency who may be impacted by this development, including all employees who may be travelling on or after July 30, 2015 in connection with State business.

We note that State employees will still be able to secure the competitively bid lower rate through Enterprise. However, until direct billing is reinstated, employees who rent a car from Enterprise in connection with State business will be required to pay out-of-pocket and to seek reimbursement through the travel voucher process, rather than having charges directly billed to their employing agency. Further, as a result of the budget impasse, employees may experience significant delays in having expenses in connection with State travel reimbursed.

We will update employees as soon as Enterprise has restored direct billing, and on all other relevant developments. In the meantime, until a budget has been enacted, agencies are encouraged to authorize employee travel only when it is essential. If travel is determined to be essential, employees must continue to use the most cost effective method of travel considering travel time, costs and work requirements. In addition, we encourage agencies and employees to use alternatives to travel, including video conferences, teleconferences, and webinars, when travel is not absolutely necessary.

As always, travel approval must be obtained by appropriate agency personnel in advance. Authorized methods for essential travel include the use of state vehicles, public transportation, car sharing, or reimbursement for use of a personal car when appropriate.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

71 Comments
  1. - Demoralized - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 9:49 am:

    Some hotels in Springfield are doing the same thing. And I would suspect that there are businesses not taking orders for goods and services from the state as well.


  2. - How Ironic - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 9:53 am:

    How nice though that employees are being advised to rent on their own personal cc, and can expect significant delays in being reimbursed.

    What a crock.


  3. - Wordslinger - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 9:53 am:

    Businesses are funny that way. They like to get paid for their goods and services.


  4. - Not quite a majority - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 9:54 am:

    Admittedly I was with another Constitutional officer, but doesn’t the state have a motor pool? Yes, they were crappy cars, but we sure never rented a car from anyone!


  5. - Team Sleep - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 9:56 am:

    How - legislative staffers have to pay out-of-pocket travel expenses. Some who are down a lot for session weeks have taken advantage of direct billing, but for the most part they must bear the initial brunt.

    Not - good question. The motor pool should be used more.


  6. - Wow - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 9:57 am:

    But we have 2 fairs we can seem to pay for! what a joke!


  7. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 9:58 am:

    Our director parks the agency car at an airport for a few days every time he travels so agency staff have to take a rental whenever he is gone.


  8. - Colin O'Scopey - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 9:59 am:

    =Enterprise, has advised that, effective as of the close of business today, July 29, 2015, it will temporarily suspend direct billing to all State Agencies that participate in the State’s vehicle rental program.=

    Well, if this doesn’t end the stalemate, nothing will.


  9. - LizPhairTax - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:01 am:

    Enterprise. We’ll pick you up. Well not YOU. Paying customers.


  10. - @MisterJayEm - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:03 am:

    The Governor’s Travel Control Board and Enterprise couldn’t come to terms? Well, we know Rauner’s Superstars™ can’t be at fault, so that means Enterprise must have fallen under the sway of the dreaded Union Thugs!

    – MrJM


  11. - walker - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:05 am:

    We shall see how willing the electric utilities and communications giants are to carry the state for a while. The state sure carries them.


  12. - Curious Georgina - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:08 am:

    @ Not quite a majority - I can’t speak to other agencies, but staff in the Chicago office do not have access to a state vehicle. Our Springfield staff does, but we in Chicago don’t.


  13. - Curious Georgina - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:10 am:

    I meant to say “staff in the Chicago office of my agency” in my previous post.


  14. - Cassandra - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:11 am:

    Well, now that it’s come up, maybe a look at the
    issue of car rental by state employees and whether it makes fiscal sense. Maybe it does, since motor pools are probably expensive to maintain, but why both. Could this be done more cheaply, as the two political parties prepare a tax tsunami that will hit the middle class sometime later this year. The Rauner admin, if they are looking into this and similar cost-saving questions, have been very quiet about it. Guess the guv is really looking forward to that income tax increase.


  15. - AC - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:13 am:

    MisterJayEm - I blame Madigan and the businesses he controls, clearly that includes Enterprise. /s


  16. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:15 am:

    The fault is with Speaker Madigan and the car rental companies he controls.


  17. - Sir Reel - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:16 am:

    I’m surprised that without a budget there’s money to travel. I know employees are being paid. What other rountine spending is going on sans budget?


  18. - Michelle Flaherty - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:18 am:

    If only there was a fleet of small aircraft owned by the state to shuttle people around.


  19. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:22 am:

    “But, but, but… Madigan.”

    Maybe there’s a judge out there that Rauner can find to demand Enterprise rents cars without payment.


  20. - Mama - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:22 am:

    “Further, as a result of the budget impasse, employees may experience significant delays in having expenses in connection with State travel reimbursed.”
    The state used to issue credit cards for state workers, whom have to travel to different job sites everyday, for their job. Are credit cards no longer issued?


  21. - Demoralized - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:22 am:

    ==Are credit cards no longer issued?==

    State credit cards haven’t existed for a long time.


  22. - Downstate - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:24 am:

    If states had a credit score, what do you think Illinois’ would be?


  23. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:24 am:

    It’s the same thing we’ve been seeing with doctors and dentists. There’s a reason I, as an ‘overpaid’ state employee, haven’t been to a dentist in 18 months.

    I can’t afford to pay for the work that needs to be done and wait for the state to pay me. And the cynic in me believes that’s really what the state wanted all along, because now it doesn’t have to pay for anything.


  24. - Walking - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:28 am:

    Enterprise cut our agency off a few weeks ago. I figured it already happened at all agencies.


  25. - It's A Trap! - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:28 am:

    From our agency, we *do* use the motor pool 99% of the time. It’s just if we need to fly and drive that we may need to rent a car. Of course, even though we take care of the cars, we have to drive the motorpool calls until the wheels fall off, and without many updates/replacement cars, the fleet is not in the best shape.


  26. - Mama - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:29 am:

    ++- Anonymous - The fault is with Speaker Madigan and the car rental companies he controls.++ Anonymous, blaming Madigan for everything is way pass it’s prime. Please pack it away and move on…


  27. - Michelle Flaherty - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:34 am:

    Is there a bike lane on I-55?


  28. - Team Sleep - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:36 am:

    Mama - not to speak for Anon 10:15, but I would bet that he or she was being a tad sarcastic.


  29. - Mama - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:37 am:

    Rich, is there money to pay for work-related travel expenses for those who use their own cars? Some people have to travel daily.


  30. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:44 am:

    I wish that Lisa Madigan would file suit to enjoin agency officials from incurring obligations of any kind. There is no budget, so there is no lawful authority to create an obligation.
    Everyone wants to avoid facing the consequences — especially the political ones — and turn a blind eye at the law.
    For example, the State Fair Budget was vetoed, but Gov. Rauner plans to hold it anyway, because he does not want the blame for the high cost of following the law.


  31. - He Makes Ryan Look Like a Saint - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:47 am:

    You will see more of this. Small Business cannot keep working without getting paid. It would be one thing if there was a known date they would be paid but at this point NOBODY knows.


  32. - Strange - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:50 am:

    In our agency when travel is required we have to use an on line trip calculator created by I believe CMS. You enter the number of hours or days of travel and the estimated mileage you will drive. The calculator then runs it’s calculations and will tell you the cheapest mode of transportation, state vehicle pool, rental car, or driving your personal vehicle and getting paid the state mileage rate (which is usually equal to the federal rate). Then you are to take the cheapest mode that applies to you. Some don’t have access to state cars so it’s between an Enterprise rental and their personal vehicle.


  33. - Mama - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:51 am:

    Anonymous 10:44am, how the heck can the state have a state fair or two, without money to pay for it? How will the Dept of Ag pay the summer help plus the fair vendors?


  34. - nixit71 - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:54 am:

    I will pay for Madigan’s rental only because I want to see him behind the wheel of a Kia Rio.


  35. - How Ironic - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 11:02 am:

    @Mama,

    The majority of fair related expenses are paid the year prior. So the 2016 fair, was essentially already paid for. Out of the State Fair Fund, it’s not GRF.

    Stopping the fair now will not result in any additional revenue for the State.

    It’s like prepaying for an all expenses paid non-refundable vacation, then deciding not to go because you lost your job.

    Why not go? It’s not like your going to get the sunk costs back. The money was spent.


  36. - Slippin' Jimmy - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 11:04 am:

    “Some don’t have access to state cars so it’s between an Enterprise rental and their personal vehicle.”

    Uber business might be picking up? (no pun intended)


  37. - Wow - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 11:12 am:

    If you are traveling in FY16 you will not be reimbursed for any expenses unless you have a continuing appropriation you can pay the expenses out of. This is very rare. Most likely you will not be reimbursed until a budget is in place. We have people that are traveling and paying out of pocket until they can get reimbursed.


  38. - Wow - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 11:15 am:

    A VERY VERY small percent of the 2015 fair was paid out of FY15. This is a fact. I work in the budget office. The state does not have money to pay things in advance. Sorry to disagree but its the truth.


  39. - Wow - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 11:17 am:

    And anyone who thinks the FAIR makes money is crazy. It is a great event an I think it should happen but it simply does not come close to paying for itself.


  40. - Pacman - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 11:22 am:

    Does anyone know what ISP uses for credit at gas stations and if their ability to purchase fuel may be impacted by the lack of a budget?


  41. - Allen D - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 11:28 am:

    My beef mainly is with the ones who have a car for no other purpose than to drive to and from work… this is just abuse plane and simple… no where does it state that IL will take you to work and take you home every day.


  42. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 11:33 am:

    ==doesn’t the state have a motor pool?==

    Illinois had over 16,000 vehicles in the state motor pool four years ago. I do not know offhand how large the fleet is now.


  43. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 11:34 am:

    ==the ones who have a car for no other purpose than to drive to and from work==

    Over 5,000 of them iirc.

    All strictly for official state business, lol.


  44. - anon - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 11:47 am:

    Just drive your own car and submit the mileage for reimbursement. There, problem solved.

    Carry on!


  45. - Allen D - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 11:52 am:

    ====the ones who have a car for no other purpose than to drive to and from work==

    Over 5,000 of them iirc.

    All strictly for official state business, lol.==

    In DOV we see it all the time, most people won’t even change their own tire to the spare… they want a wrecker to come out and change it… $$$ 75-150 to change the tire… totally unacceptable waste of money… at least make an attempt to change the tire


  46. - Nickname #2 - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 11:53 am:

    Does anyone know if the AFSCME contract allows the employer to require an employee to pay for travel without a realistic expectation of repayment? In other words, can travelling employees refuse to continue to travel? At some point, the costs become prohibitive to pay up front.


  47. - Ipso Facto - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 11:55 am:

    Here’s where those Rauner Gift Cards come in handy. Who would have thunk it.


  48. - Mama - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 11:58 am:

    Do vendors that supply food, electric, water for the prisons get paid?


  49. - Mama - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 12:03 pm:

    - Nickname #2 - It is my understanding that there is no AFSCME contract in force at this time. The previous contract was not renewed. The union agreed to keep negotiating & the workers agreed to keep working without a contract. Please correct me if I’m wrong.


  50. - Mama - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 12:05 pm:

    - Allen D - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 11:52 am:
    Sometimes there is no jack or no spare tire so..


  51. - Gooner - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 12:16 pm:

    It would be interesting to see a real analysis of whether it is more cost effective for the state to purchase more vehicles or to continue renting.

    Given that the state’s $30,000 a month budget consultant has not produced a balanced budget, maybe she could run the numbers.


  52. - Mama - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 12:18 pm:

    - anon - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 11:47 am: -
    Anon, Rauner VETOED the budget. Therefore, no budget equals no money to reimburse state workers to conduct government business. No one expects the budget to be passed anytime soon. My guess is it will pass Dec., 2015. Like small businesses, state workers expect to get reimbursed for their expenses in a reasonable amount of time.


  53. - Gooner - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 12:20 pm:

    I don’t know why state employees would complain about this.

    They should all just use their $500 a month car allowance for this.


  54. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 12:39 pm:

    ==won’t even change their own tire to the spare==

    Sometimes there may not be a jack or a spare, but when there is that is wasteful during a ==crisis==.


  55. - ananamas - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 12:40 pm:

    anon @ 11:47am : “Just drive your own car and submit the mileage for reimbursement. There, problem solved.

    Carry on!”

    And if you own one car and your spouse needs it daily for their job? What then??


  56. - Allen D - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 12:52 pm:

    =Mama- that is rare and the calls for tire change are many…

    The jack is replaceable from the garage, it is a piece of the car, if it is damaged and needs repair/replacement it will be, spares are fixed at the garage every day… however we also get the “it never had a spare” excuse… well where did it go, …. did it hop off and go find a new car??? There is no excuse short of that spare has no air, can you please send a tow for my vehicle… JMO… it would save so much money…we have been told many times “they don’t pay me to change a tire, thats your job” on the phone it is silly… I guess I clean my office that is a janitors job… let me put a call in…. waiting… waiting…


  57. - anon - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 1:02 pm:

    ananamas—–oh c’mon now, there are ways. Problem solve. If in the city, use Uber. If going to Chicago or downstate, use Amtrak. Rent a car, it costs $20-$30. Work it out.

    And, if it takes you a month or two to get that $100-$200 reimbursement, I’m sure you will be fine.


  58. - RNUG - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 1:04 pm:

    == State credit cards haven’t existed for a long time. ==

    And when I had a “state” credit car (Diner’s Club at that time), it was issued in my personal name and was my personal responsibility (even though the State got a copy of all charges) plus I had to pay the interest if the State didn’t get the expense vouchers turned around in time to avoid.


  59. - anon - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 1:22 pm:

    Why doesn’t the State invoke its police powers to avoid paying for any rental cars used? After all, the State is apparently going to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to let it stiff retirees/employees on pension payment for services already rendered. Why stop there?


  60. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 1:24 pm:

    “… $500 a month car allowance …”

    You must mean the one I pay to myself so I can buy gas to get to work.


  61. - Robert the Bruce - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 1:27 pm:

    Maybe Rauner can send the National Guard out to seize some cars?


  62. - retired_and_glad - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 1:33 pm:

    The state should untilize conference calls..until that is shut off as well. Why do folks from Chicago have to come to SPringfield and vice versa? You knew when you took the job that travel was required. Maybe hire folks that need to be in Springfield…from Springfield. Same for Chicago folks.

    Flip side is that many staff at some agencies MUST travel. They deserve to be reimbursed. Think case workers.


  63. - Gmma - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 2:45 pm:

    Have worked for Fed government, state government, and private contractors: for travel under about 140 miles in 1 day, its cheaper to use personal cars. Over that, its cheaper for the government or business to pay for a rental car. Using a rental actually saves the state money. For example, a recent work trip cost the state under $60 in a rental/gas. With my own car, it would have been $110. May not sound like much, but it ads up. My agency received this letter about 6 weeks ago. Also,my state agency uses conference calls, webinar technology, and VERY outdated video conferencing for 99.9% of business between Springfield and Chicago. Yes, there are times when travel between is required, and should not be born by the employee. (I am not union, by the way) In business, its called a “cost of doing business”. With all the complaining about lack of coordination across the state, how can anyone dismiss the need for staff from across the state to conduct business in-person periodically?


  64. - Beaner - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 4:17 pm:

    ==Are credit cards no longer issued?==

    The State fleet cars assigned to agencies have a Credit Card in the glove box for buying gas.


  65. - No Raise - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 4:19 pm:

    Good thing I retired last year. No chance I would pay out of pocket for anything. No rank-and-file employee should ever do so.


  66. - Oh, please.... - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 4:22 pm:

    Yes, I hear there is a move afoot to provide all public servants and state employees with car allowances! I mean, if we want the best and the brightest…


  67. - HangingOn - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 8:00 pm:

    ==won’t even change their own tire to the spare==

    We have 3 cars for our office that don’t even *have* a jack or a spare tire. We have one part of the state saying it’s a safety issue not to have them, and another part of the state saying state employees aren’t supposed to change the tires for themselves anyway so we don’t need them. The workers are told to call the CMS garage if they get a flat and have someone come out and fix it.


  68. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 8:15 pm:

    “Just drive your own car and submit the mileage for reimbursement. There, problem solved”

    That’s not quite true. A manager can deny the travel request to use a personal car and force an employee to use the rental cat if it’s cheaper.


  69. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 8:16 pm:

    car*


  70. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 8:20 pm:

    This is a different type of expense than, for instance, salaries. When an employee rents a car, he/she is basically laying out money for the state. The delay in reimbursement is tantamount to an interest free loan. Last time I heard, that was called racketeering (my snark).


  71. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 9:17 pm:

    Sorry, been away from my computer all day, so I’m late to the party.

    Some agencies have/had employees whose job requires travel, and if they have an office, it more resembles a closet where equipment, forms, etc. are kept. State cars and gas credit cards do

    Revenue, and perhaps other agencies, has/had employees who rarely, if ever, set foot in Illinois, and in Revenue’s case, move about the country auditing businesses who do business in IL. They use airlines, hotels and rental cars every week. In fact, Revenue has/had a travel agent within the agency who books and schedules all this travel.

    Video-conferencing is nice between Chicago and Springfield and some other cities in Illinois, but what if the meeting is in Denver, or Atlanta and you have to go to get or maintain necessary skill levels?

    As was mentioned earlier, it is a part of the cost of doing business.

    And, I recall instances of the power being shut off at state facilities when the bills weren’t paid when the legislator and governor couldn’t get their jobs done.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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* Steep climbs ahead for oft-injured White Sox
* #AwardWorthy: Vote for Engel's glove
* Sporcle Saturday: Long bombs
* Petricka undergoes surgery on right elbow
* Avisail sees similarities in rebuild, stellar year


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