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Olin M. Broadfoot, 76, administrator of fleet of Maryland-owned vehicles


Olin Martin Broadfoot, who ran a fleet of state vehicles but used his own car to commute from Pikesville to Annapolis, died Friday of leukemia at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care in Towson. He was 76.

Mr. Broadfoot became the first state fleet administrator when the oversight of hundreds of state vehicles from various departments was centralized under the Department of Budget and Fiscal Planning in the early 1970s.

"He was a great organizer," said daughter Georgia Scott Corso of Baltimore, "and he really liked driving."

On Sunday drives, he kept an eye out for state vehicles parked outside bars or other places they didn't belong, she said.

"There's 2,200 cars, and I'm only one man," Mr. Broadfoot said in a 1978 Evening Sun interview on employees commuting in state cars. With "sole responsibility for auditing, analyzing and enforcing regulations for the state's 2,200 cars," the article said, "trying to determine who is and is not properly using his car is almost an impossible task."

But he tried.

After a study by Mr. Broadfoot to see whether officials' cars could be reassigned to employees who would use them, 10 high-ranking health department officials were warned in 1980 that they weren't driving their state cars enough and might lose the fringe benefit.

At the time, he said, the state was reimbursing 20 employees for tens of thousands of miles at 18 cents a mile, compared to a cost of 13.4 cents for the state cars.

A year later, Mr. Broadfoot was urging state employees to learn how to shift gears on 350 34-mile-per-gallon Chevettes, in the interest of saving on gasoline and "completing a cycle that took the state fleet from economy cars to gas guzzlers and back to economy cars in less than a decade," according to a 1981 Evening Sun interview with him.

By then, the fleet numbered about 2,500 cars, and a 6-mpg improvement amounted to a $300,000 savings for the state.

Known as Ollie, Mr. Broadfoot grew up in Sudbrook Park and graduated from Franklin High School. A staff sergeant in the Army Air Forces, he served in Europe during World War II.

He was married in 1942 to Margaret Elizabeth Crane, and the couple made their home in Pikesville. He worked as a gourmet-beef salesman for about 20 years before tiring of sales and going to work for the state in 1970. He retired in 1984.

Mrs. Broadfoot died in 1978, and, in 1980, he married Dorothy Cullison. They lived in Finksburg after his retirement. Mrs. Broadfoot said her husband enjoyed a humorous "curmudgeon award" his former employees had created for him.

Mr. Broadfoot was proud of his Scottish heritage and enjoyed Scottish games and singing with bagpipe music.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Feb. 20 at St. Mark's-on-the-Hill Episcopal Church in Pikesville, which he had served as an acolyte, vestryman, and president of its Couples Club.

In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Broadfoot is survived by another daughter, M. Kate Rigby; a son, Robin Bruce Broadfoot; a stepson, Steven Owen; a brother, Gordon Drysdale Broadfoot Sr.; and three grandchildren. All are of the Baltimore area.

Library researcher Jean Packard contributed to this article.

Pub Date: 2/08/99

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