Conservation Department Would Swap Two Aircraft For One
The Missouri Department of Conservation was criticized last week
for their plan to replace two older aircraft with a new Cessna
Grand Caravan, ostensibly in an attempt to reduce fuel and
"It’s troubling that no one talked to us about their plans
to procure a new airplane," State Auditor Claire McCaskill told the
agency last week, according to the Kansas City Star. McCaskill
argued that with state budget as tight as it is, the department
should have asked her office for a review of the purchase.
Conservation Department Assistant Director Denise Garnier
replied the purchase of a new Cessna Grand Caravan, and the
subsequent sale of the agency's 23-year-old C402 as well as a
half-interest in a Beech King Air 200, is designed to reduce
maintenance expenses. There is also no precedent of state agencies
consulting with the auditor before a purchase, Garnier stated.
"This is in fact a cost-savings measure," Garnier said.
The Conservation Department believes the sale of the two
aircraft will cover most, if not all, of the Grand Caravan. Reduced
fuel and maintenance costs on the new aircraft would also help save
money -- as much $50,000 per year, said Garnier.
A new Grand Caravan can cost as much as $1.8 million, according
The conservation department presently uses its C402 for law
enforcement, habitat surveys, bird counts, and wildlife patrols.
The King Air usually carries personnel for administrative duties.
The agency also has another older Cessna.
If the purchase is
approved, the unpressurized 10-passenger C208B would be used to
handle duties previously split between the two other aircraft.
The argument may be a moot point, however, as the Missouri
Conservation Commission, which sets policy for the department,
rejected a bid Thursday for a Cessna Grand Caravan. The sale price
was not disclosed, although Garnier said the submitted price was
higher than the commission had expected.
The agency is also looking into purchasing a cheaper used
airplane if one can be found, said Garnier.