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Office of General Counsel Policies & Guidelines

Motor Vehicles : 4:03:02:00

Policy/Guideline Area

Business and Finance Policies

Applicable Divisions

TCATs, Community Colleges, System Office

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to establish the minimum regulations and procedures concerning the maintenance and operation of motor vehicles by institutions and employees of the institutions within the Tennessee Board of Regents System. Procedures provide for the assignment of an institutional motor vehicle to certain persons for their official use. Positions included within this procedure are the Presidents of institutions, the Chancellor, Vice Chancellors, and Legal Counsel. The purpose of this procedure is to provide structure to the assignment of vehicles under this policy.

Definitions

  • State vehicle or motor vehicle - any motor vehicle owned by the Board or an institution or college of applied technology in the System, or purchased or leased from state funds.
  • Institution - any institution within the Tennessee Board of Regents System, and the offices of the Board of Regents.
  • Employee - any person employed full or part-time by an institution or any person serving as an ‘official volunteer’ at an institution. An ‘official volunteer’ is defined as a person whom the institution has properly registered with the Tennessee Board of Claims pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 8-42-101(3)(B).

Policy/Guideline

  1. General Provisions
    1. Motor vehicles are maintained at institutions in the System to facilitate the official business of the System. It is the responsibility of all employees who use state vehicles to ensure the efficient and economical utilization of such vehicles.
    2. All state vehicles shall be used in accordance with the provisions of this policy.
    3. All state vehicles shall be marked in accordance with the current TBR Marking Plan as contained in Attachment A.
  2. Presidents, Chancellor, Vice Chancellors, Legal Counsel
    1. The presidents of the institutions, the Chancellor, Vice Chancellors, and Legal Counsel may be provided an  assigned motor vehicle for their use or receive an automobile allowance. The terms of such use shall be set forth in their respective employment agreements or letters.
  3. Motor Pools
    1. Each institution is authorized to maintain a central motor pool from which vehicles may be dispatched by employees for official business.
    2. When motor pool vehicles are maintained, an employee who needs to use a motor vehicle on state business shall use a pool dispatched vehicle if one is available, unless the employee elects and obtains authorization to use a personally-owned vehicle as provided in the Board's General Travel Policies and Procedures (No. 4:03:03:00).
    3. Motor pool vehicles shall be available for either trip assignments or special assignments.
      1. Motor pool vehicles available for trip assignments will be centrally controlled by the institution and made available for specific trips and returned to the motor pool upon completion of trips and shall be used only for official business and not for personal use.
      2. Special assignment of motor pool vehicles may be made to a division or a person when necessary for use on a regular basis.
      3. Motor pool vehicles, including those used for trip assignments and special assignments may not be used for commuting purposes unless the employee:
        1. Is departing upon or returning from an official trip away from their headquarters or the employee needs the vehicle to conduct institution business after regular working hours or before usual working hours on the next day; or
        2. Has been recommended by the president and approved by the Chancellor to be authorized to use the vehicle for commuting purposes.
  4. Authorized Operators and Passengers
    1. Only employees of an institution with proper departmental authorization may be authorized to operate a state vehicle for official business. Authorization to use a state vehicle shall be limited to official use within the scope of employment of the employee.
    2. All employees must have a valid driver's license prior to being authorized to operate a state vehicle.
    3. Passengers in state vehicles shall be limited to the following:
      1. Employees of the institution when within the scope of employment;
      2. Students of the institution engaged in institutional or school sponsored activities; and
      3. Other persons when it is necessary for them to accompany an employee on official business or as guests of the institution. The spouse and children of employees generally are not considered a guest of the institution unless their attendance is required at the event and they are listed on approved travel authorizations. This provision does not apply to those positions listed in Section II.A. 
  5. Penalties for Misuse of Vehicles
    1. Employees who misuse vehicles will be subject to disciplinary sanctions, depending upon the magnitude of the misuse and the frequency with which it has occurred. Misuse includes any of the following:
      1. Utilization of radar detection devices in state vehicles;
      2. Violations of traffic laws; this includes exceeding posted speed limits, reckless driving, and illegal parking;
      3. Careless operation that results in damage to the vehicle or injury to persons or property;
      4. Use of a vehicle for personal business or unauthorized commuting purposes; or
      5. Use of a vehicle contrary to the provisions of this policy.
    2. The president of the institution, or the Chancellor should determine the penalty appropriate for each violation; and in addition may require the employee to pay for damages to the vehicle caused by misuse.
  6. Notice of Liability and Penalties for Misuse
    1. A notice of liability and penalties for misuse of motor vehicles (Exhibit 1) shall be posted at the site where vehicles are normally checked out, and be contained in each vehicle for the benefit of drivers.
  7. Exceptions
    1. Any exception to this policy must be approved in writing by the Chancellor.

Attachment A

  1. Marking Plan for State Vehicles
    1. The provisions of the marking plan for licensed vehicles are as follows:
      1. All institutions will develop and/or affix their own individual decal containing a minimum surface area of sixty square inches to all licensed vehicles.
      2. The identifying emblem will be displayed on the passenger and driver’s door unless otherwise stated. Some vans will be marked on the side at mid-panel height, and some institutions will further identify the vehicle as security, maintenance, etc.
      3. Vehicles assigned to the chancellor, vice chancellors, legal counsel, and presidents will carry regular series license plates and no decal identification.
    2. These provisions will remain in full effect until revoked or altered in writing by the Chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents.

Source: Memorandum dated February 28, 1986, from Chancellor Thomas J. Garland to the State Commissioners of Finance and Administration and General Services

Procedures

  1. General
    1. An Eligible Executive includes positions cited in the TBR Motor Vehicle Policy (4:03 :02:00), Section II . At the time of employment, an Eligible Executive may elect to receive:
      1. Assignment of an institutional motor vehicle for their use; or
      2. A motor vehicle allowance.
    2. This election should be made at either:
      1. The time of employment, or
      2. As assigned motor vehicles are replaced.
        1. This replacement should occur as needed based on the useful life of the vehicle and accumulated mileage.
        2. Under no circumstances should the replacement cycle be less than three (3) years.
    3. Once an employee elects to take the motor vehicle allowance, the employee cannot change to an assigned vehicle.
  2. Assignment of an Institutional Motor Vehicle
    1. Eligible Executives selecting this option shall be provided an appropriate motor vehicle by the institution. For purposes of this plan, an appropriate motor vehicle is defined as a late model (no more than five years old) four-door passenger mid-size or full size sedan. The Chancellor shall approve the selection of assigned vehicles for eligible executives. Operating and maintenance cost of the assigned motor vehicle shall be the responsibility of the institution. In recognition that use of the assigned motor vehicle may include non-business use Eligible Executives are required to maintain appropriate types and amounts of insurance to cover any non-business use of the motor vehicle.
    2. To the degree that the motor vehicle assigned is used for non-business purposes, it is the responsibility of the institution to report on the employee's Form W-2 the value of such personal use in the employee's income as compensation subject to withholding for federal income taxes and applicable FICA taxes. Additionally, these amounts shall be considered as compensation for employee benefit purposes.
  3. Motor Vehicle Allowance
    1. Eligible Executives selecting this option shall receive a monthly cash allowance from the institution. In recognition of this payment, the Eligible Executive shall be responsible for all expenses attendant to the:
      1. Purchase or lease (and replacement as needed) of a motor vehicle appropriately suited for the conduct of institutional business. For purposes of this plan, an appropriate motor vehicle is defined as a late model (no more than five years old) four-door passenger mid-size or full size sedan; and
      2. Operation, insurance, maintenance, and repair cost of said motor vehicle.
    2. The monthly automobile allowance amount shall be set in the Eligible Employee's employment agreement.
      1. The allowance consists of two components:
        1. A capital component based on the estimated monthly lease value of a full sized sedan; and
        2. An operating component that applies a mileage rate that considers only the marginal operational cost of a vehicle and assumes 12,000 business miles are driven annually.
      2. It is the responsibility of the business and finance area of the System Office to initially calculate and periodically update the monthly automobile allowance amount.
      3. The monthly automobile allowance will be reviewed and adjusted periodically in conjunction with future compensation studies for presidents and other system executives.
    3. The monthly automobile allowance, under Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Regulations, must be included in compensation on the employee's Form W-2 and is subject to federal withholding and applicable FICA taxes. Additionally, automobile allowance payments are considered compensation for employee benefit purposes.
    4. Eligible Executives whose business related travel exceeds 12,000 miles annually are eligible to be reimbursed for business related mileage. If requesting such reimbursement, the Eligible Executive must provide the institution with a log that documents that the motor vehicle for which the allowance is paid has been used for 12,000 business related miles. The log submitted should comply with IRS guidance for documentation of business usage of a motor vehicle. Once this annual 12,000 mile threshold is achieved, the Eligible Executive may submit mileage reimbursement requests for any business related miles that exceed 12,000 miles. The reimbursement rate shall equal the Board's then current approved mileage rate, less the then current IRS standard mileage rate attributed to depreciation. Mileage reimbursement paid under this item are not considered compensation for income tax purposes and are not subject to federal withholding and applicable FICA taxes.
  4. Funding
    1. Each institution is responsible for funding the provisions of this plan.

Exhibits

Sources

Authority

T.C.A. §§ 49-8-203, 8-42-101

History

TBR Meetings, June 29, 1979; June 27, 1980; September 30, 1983; June 29, 1984; June 27, l986; June 24, 1988; September 21, 1990; March 18, 2005; June29, 2007; Board Meeting, September 26, 2014; Board Meeting March 27, 2015. Sept 2018 combined Guideline B-030 into this policy.

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