Nurse says city SUV purchases 'a testosterone issue'
St. Petersburg council member Karl Nurse questioned Thursday why the city has purchased so many SUVs, saying it was "testosterone issue."
Why does the police department need Chevy Tahoes to for canine patrol units? And why do those Tahoes have "race engines?" Nurse asked.
The issue surfaced at a meeting of the city's Energy Natural Resource and Sustainability Committee and met immediate pushback from City Administrator Gary Cornwell who said the police department used the Tahoes for crime scene investigations as well as transporting 100-pound dogs.
Cornwell said he couldn't immediately speak to why the Tahoes had such powerful engines.
Nurse wasn't done. The fire department, santitation and code enforcement supervisors also had an abundance of SUVs, he said.
"This couldn't be any more inefficient," Nurse said.
Committee chairwoman Darden Rice said the city should capitalize on a "teachable" moment and undertake a review of the city's fleet. Maybe it's time for the city to launch a "green fleet" program to ensure the city is making environmentally-sound purchases, she said.
Cornwell said he would get such a review under way.
Nurse remains skeptical. He said administration officials had pressured him to delay broaching the subject at all.
"There is a gap between rhetoric and reality," he said.