FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear sounded like a used-plane salesman Wednesday, holding a news conference in a Capital City Airport hangar to announce the eBay auction of two state aircraft.
"They're well-maintained aircraft like all our aircraft," Beshear said in front of two state planes that had large "For Sale" signs in front of them.
For sale are a twin-engine 1975 Piper Navajo and a single-engine 1967 Cessna Skyhawk.
"The commonwealth does not need these planes anymore," Beshear said.
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The Navajo was previously operated by Kentucky State Police. The state Department of Aviation in the Transportation Cabinet acquired it as surplus property in 1997. The Cessna, previously operated by Somerset Community College, was acquired by the state through surplus in 1998.
State Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock said in a news release that overall use of the state's 15 aircraft has declined during the Beshear administration.
Beshear said the two planes for sale have been used primarily for law enforcement, particularly by the Department of Fish and Wildlife. An assessment of the state's aircraft fleet showed that they could be sold without hurting the work of the department, Beshear said.
The planes may be viewed at the Division of Surplus Property's eBay store at http://stores.ebay.com/kysurplus.
Beshear declined to say how much money the sale, which will last 10 days, might generate. The Navajo has a minimum bid of $75,000. Bidding on the Skyhawk stood at $15,600 by Wednesday evening.
A percentage of the proceeds will go to the state Finance and Administration Cabinet and the rest to the Department of Aviation.
Beshear said the sale will save the state more than $63,000 a year in maintenance and insurance costs.
The sale is part of Beshear's ongoing Smart Government Initiative, which he started in January 2010. The program examines state government operations to find ways to save taxpayer dollars and make the government more efficient.
Last year, the program saved more than $900,000, Beshear said, through a reduction in leases with private landlords throughout the state. The state also saved $1.1 million, he said, by redistributing the assignment of state-owned vehicles or selling them.
His administration, Beshear said, has reduced by 17.2 percent since 2008 the number of permanently assigned vehicles. The overall number of vehicles maintained by the Division of Fleet Management has been cut by 8.8 percent since 2008.
Since the beginning of the Smart Government Initiative, Beshear said, the Office of Procurement Services estimates that $7.2 million has been saved through contract renegotiations and rebidding.