After more than 300,000 miles, state Treasurer John Kennedy is ready to trade in his 2002 GMC Yukon.
Kennedy is scheduled to ask legislators Friday for permission to buy a new truck.
Kennedy said Thursday the 2002 Yukon is unreliable.
“It’s just started to break down a lot,” he said.
The fact that Kennedy has to consult with legislators before perusing the car lots is thanks to former Insurance Commissioner Robert Wooley.
Six years ago, Wooley exchanged his recently purchased Ford Eddie Bauer-designer edition Expedition for a Harley Davidson-edition truck.
Both purchases were made with state dollars.
The Harley Davidson-edition truck came with heated seats, a camper package and diesel engine. Wooley’s explanation was he saw the $40,000 truck on the lot and wanted it.
He characterized the fallout over the purchase as “a pimple on a bee’s ass.”
After a public outcry, Wooley relinquished both vehicles, which were sold at auction.
Large or luxury vehicles are a perk that come with statewide elected officials’ jobs.
After Wooley’s purchases, legislators passed a law requiring statewide elected officials to go before the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget to spend taxpayer funds on vehicles.
Attorney General Buddy Caldwell asked the committee’s permission in 2008 to buy a $25,963 Ford Expedition with leather seats. The request was granted.
Other statewide elected officials never go before the legislative budget committee.
Gov. Bobby Jindal is chauffeured by State Police in black SUVs. He does not buy the vehicles; State Police does.
Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne drives his own vehicle after rejecting the idea of having a State Police detail as his predecessors did.
His spokesman, Jacques Berry, said Dardenne receives a $700 monthly car allowance from the state.
Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon said he remembers discussing with Dardenne that it would be cleaner and safer to take the allowance.
Donelon said he commutes to downtown Baton Rouge from Metairie, putting 50,000 miles a year on his Expedition.
He said he did not want to worry about driving a state vehicle to political functions or on personal errands.
“So I didn’t have to worry about accounting for whether I was on state business or personal use,” Donelon said.
Secretary of State Tom Schedler drives a personal vehicle to the office as well.
He said he takes the $700 monthly car allowance and drives his own Jeep Wrangler.
“I just like the flexibility of having my own vehicle,” Schedler said.
State Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain also takes the car allowance.
Kennedy said he hopes to buy another used Yukon. “I’m a big believer in low-mileage used cars,” he said.
Kennedy said the vehicle will not include expensive upgrades.
“My plan is to buy another Yukon just like I have now, and my first preference is to buy a late-model used car,” he said.