City Fleet Gas Card Account Reaches Credit Limit
Late Thursday night, the city of Houston ran into a problem at the pump.
It is best described in a memo obtained by KPRC2 Investigates, sent by the HFD dispatcher to fire crews across the city around midnight:
“Effective immediately, all Voyager fuel cards are unusable until further notice. All units must refuel at a City of Houston fuel site location (attached, or contact OEC for locations) If units receive an invalid odometer reading, they will need to contact Senior Captain XXXXX at 713-XXX-XXXX Member must be present at the pump for the reset to occur All members must be aware of their ability fuel current and consider the possibility of transport distances to medical center etc, especially in morning traffic for outdoor fire stations.It should also be taken into account that this is a city-wide issue and that HPD, solid waste and other city vehicles may also be clogging these refueling sites around our shift change. this information to the next shift and contact your immediate supervisor and/or the OEC for critical fuel situations. »
The president of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association reacted strongly on Friday.
“It’s something no one should learn at midnight. Either they didn’t know or they didn’t warn everyone. Someone has to be held accountable because there’s no turnaround in the emergency response sector, said HPFFA President Patrick Lancton.
We reached out to the mayor’s office for comment on Friday.
Communications Director Mary Benton responded with the following, noting that the issue was corrected quickly Friday morning.
“Shortly after 10 p.m. last night, Fleet Management began receiving a notice that fuel transactions attempted by city employees with Voyager fuel cards were being declined. COH representatives contacted Voyager and learned that due to the recent spike in fuel costs, the City of Houston’s Voyager program credit limit had been exceeded. This resulted in the cards being deactivated without notice to the City. Please note that this was already in HPD and HFD were made aware of the situation late last night and encouraged to arrange for their personnel to use one of the city’s 67 refueling sites to cover fuel needs while the Voyager issue was resolved. Early this morning, FMD was able to contact Voyager representatives to reactivate the cards. The finance department also issued payment on Voyager’s last invoice. The Vo card yager is used as backup by City emergency response personnel when fuel is needed and a City refueling site is not nearby. City fueling locations should be the first choice for fuel needs, as city fuel is much cheaper than fuel purchased at private gas stations with the Voyager card. FMD employees were on standby last night and early this morning to cover any emergency fuel issues. Vehicles. To my knowledge, none have been reported. Also, know that the 67 supply points of the City are operational. Fuel stocks are normal. City staff currently have access to City refueling points as well as the Voyager program. A clarification: the next gas/Voyager payment is due on May 25th. The problem is really on the credit limit which reached faster than expected due to the increase in the price of gas, and this was being adjusted.
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