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W.Va. hires government vehicle fleet manager

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia has a new manager who will oversee the state government's 6,500-vehicle fleet.

Kenneth H. Yoakum was hired this week as executive director of the State Fleet Management Office. He replaces Clay Chandler, who abruptly resigned from the post in August.

Yoakum formerly worked for Mountaineer Gas, managing the company's vehicles and overseeing maintenance at 18 facilities.

"With his extensive knowledge and experience in the management of fleet vehicles along with his negotiation skills, he will bring the tools and resources to our state government that will produce positive changes in this program," said Ross Taylor, acting administration secretary.

State lawmakers established the fleet office in 2010, after a series of audits cited rampant misuse of state vehicles. Auditors concluded that the state spent $70 million a year to operate vehicles with little oversight on how the cars, SUVs and light-duty trucks were assigned or used.

Chandler, who formerly managed the state of Oklahoma's vehicle fleet, was hired to fix the widespread problems. He resigned after less than two years on the job.

Taylor said Yoakum would work with legislators and state agencies to develop a "streamlined" fleet management process and reduce operating costs.

"Since the passage of legislation in 2010 which consolidated the state's fleet, the Department of Administration has focused on continued enhancements to our processes and procedures," Taylor said. "Kenny's leadership skills and understanding of fleet management operations will certainly benefit the state of West Virginia."

The Fleet Management Office has five employees and an annual budget of more than $7 million. The executive director's job pays about $81,000 a year.

Reach Eric Eyre at ericeyre@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.


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