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In Brief: The Smithsonian Needs to Update and Implement Vehicle-Related Policies and Procedures, No.A-13-06, Issued March 27, 2014

Why We Did This Audit

The Smithsonian operates a vehicle fleet program to benefit the mission and functions of the Institution.

Our audit objectives were to evaluate the controls management has established to minimize the costs of motor vehicle operations, including maintenance, petroleum use, purchasing, and disposal. Additionally, we assessed whether the Smithsonian is achieving the sustainability goals outlined in Executive Order (EO) 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance.


The vehicle fleet program was established to ensure: (1) the availability of safe and reliable vehicles, (2) timely maintenance and repair of vehicles, and (3) the monitoring of the fleet size and utilization of vehicles.

During our review, the fleet consisted of 487 vehicles made up of sedans, buses, trucks, vans, and sport utility vehicles.

What We Found

We found that Smithsonian management: (1) developed policies based on best practices for fleet management; (2) invested resources in a fleet management information system (FleetWave); and (3) appeared to adhere to Executive Order 13514. However, there were internal control weaknesses in the implementation of these policies and procedures.

Management did not implement main components of its policy such as enforcing the: Vehicle Coordinator Program (VC); use of vehicle trip logs; and use of Form SI-3805, Justification For Acquisition of a Motor Vehicle or Off-Highway Equipment. We also determined that the policy addressing driver licenses is outdated.

In addition, we identified data discrepancies between the systems that report on the Smithsonian’s fleet. We identified 37 vehicles, with a total purchase price of approximately $797,703, that were recorded in FleetWave but were not included on the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Financials vehicle asset list. Further, we identified 20 vehicles, with a total purchase price of $253,095, that were on the ERP vehicle asset list but were not recorded in FleetWave.

We also found that there were no policies and procedures to ensure that fuel cards were assigned in FleetWave. Fourteen active cards (or 29 percent of cards sampled) were not assigned to a specific vehicle in FleetWave.

What We Recommended

To strengthen fleet management internal controls, we recommended that management: update and fully implement policies and procedures to include the VC program, trip logs, and SI-3805; develop procedures to periodically reconcile vehicle information between FleetWave and ERP; and develop and implement policies and procedures to ensure the proper control of fleet cards.

Management concurred with our findings and recommendations and has planned corrective actions to address the recommendations. We will continue to monitor management’s progress towards completion of these recommendations.

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