Friday, May 13, 2011

If You Don't Have an iPhone, Well, You Must Not Be a Los Angeles City Employee

The LA Times reported yesterday on the results of Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel's audit of city-paid cell phone use. Her findings? Between buying phones for employees who don't need them, and not finding the most affordable phone plans, Los Angeles wasted as much as $1 million last year.

The problem is best summarized as follows:
According to her audit, the city squandered thousands of dollars each month for directory assistance, call forwarding and overage text-messaging charges. It also paid thousands of dollars to maintain hundreds of phones that were not used for months at a time.

Meanwhile, the city was overpaying cellphone carriers, the audit found, because officials in various city departments failed to take advantage of cheaper phone rates and plans.
Of course, Los Angeles has a budget deficit of around $500 million, so the $5 million or so it spends on phones are a drop in the bucket. But this story tells you a lot about how LA got into the mess it's in: they still needed an audit to know how much they were spending on a perk they probably shouldn't be offering anyway.


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