Cresson set to install GPS devices in vehicles

Council president will be only person to monitor usage

By Sean Sauro

CRESSON — A lone councilman will have the authority to monitor the use of five borough vehicles through GPS tracking devices.

On Monday, Cresson Bor­ough Council President Michael Zabinsky Jr. an­nounced that he arranged to have GPS devices installed in an effort to curb spending.

“After looking at some of the expenditures for our equipment, I decided to enter into a contract with Ver­izon to install GPS devices for five vehicles,” he said, informing other council members.

Those vehicles include two police cruisers, a sewer vehicle and two street de­partment trucks, officials said.

The GPS devices are priced at $80 each, but that cost was waived as part of a deal with Verizon, Zabinsky said.

Because borough workers will be able to place the GPS devices in vehicles, the cost of installation by Verizon also will be eliminated, he said.

The cost of GPS service will remain — a price of about $20 per month per vehicle.

The GPS devices will be able to show information about vehicle locations, “downtime” and “idle time,” Zabinsky said.

“It’s … just to keep an eye on my equipment,” he said. “It just seems like our equipment is costing us a lot of money to maintain. This, hopefully, will … get a handle on it.”

Zabinsky said the installation of GPS systems has been discussed at meetings in the past.

“I think it’s time we have to do that,” he said Monday.

Zabinsky was asked if access to system data would be available in the borough office.

“No, it will be controlled by me,” he said, explaining he will have sole access to the GPS information “until such time that we need to put it into the secretary’s office.”

Zabinsky later said Veri­zon staff suggested a single point of contact for the system.

Borough Treasurer Rich Keown will act as a backup contact, solicitor Calvin J. Webb confirmed Tuesday.

Council members in at­tendance voted unanimously in favor of GPS installation.

After the meeting, Za­binsky stressed that GPS devices are not being installed with the intent to surveil employees.

“It’s not why we did it,” he said.

Instead, the devices will be used as a financial tool to monitor spending through vehicle use, he said.

On Monday, Zabinsky could not provide a dollar amount associated with vehicle spending, but said those costs were “up” last year.

Cresson Mayor Robert Whiteman said the cost of Verizon GPS service is low.

“It’s a good price,” he said. “It really is.”

The GPS devices are to first be used in August.

Mirror Staff Writer Sean Sauro is at 946-7535.