nothings too good for the gilbert mayor.

Gilbert mayor wants new car; needs council OK Dream vehicle not on town's bid list

Chris Ramirez The Arizona Republic Mar. 4, 2006 12:00 AM

Gilbert Mayor Steve Berman wants to trade in his 7-year-old town-issued sports sedan for a newer model.

But the one he wants isn't on the state bid list this year, which means a significantly higher price tag and getting his colleagues on the Town Council to sign off on the deal.

"It's been around the block quite a bit," Berman said of his 1999 Dodge Intrepid, a hand-me-down from a previous town manager. "Cars just don't last forever.

The car has cracks in the dashboard and a myriad of electronics problems, he said.

But a Chrysler PT Cruiser or a Honda Civic hybrid, both available on the bid list, just won't do.

He admits to being a fan of the Chrysler 300, which Car and Driver Magazine rated as its best full-size sedan in 2006 for its interior comfort, acceleration and vehicle styling.

Town Manager George Pettit and Berman have differing versions of the mayor's interest in the car.

In a Feb. 14 memo, Pettit stated because the Chrysler 300 is not on this year's bid list, acquiring one requires the council's approval. Pettit said he drafted the memo to clarify the town's purchasing and vehicle-replacement process.

Berman said he "only casually asked" Gilbert fleet service personnel whether the car was on the bid list because he believes his Intrepid is in line to be replaced this summer

He said he believes Pettit wrote it to embarrass him, knowing the document would be public. The Arizona Republic obtained the memo through an Arizona public records request.

"I have no idea why he'd try to create controversy where there isn't one," Berman said. "Don't we have enough issues to deal with already?"

The mayor's Intrepid had 127 miles on it when it was purchased in July 1999 for $21,370, according to Public Works and finance records. He said he began driving it in June, and it had 69,864 miles on it as of last week, according to the town's fleet management.

Chrysler 300srange in price from $24,350 to $42,500, depending on extras, according to the motor company's Web site.

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