Posted: Feb 11, 2013 4:47 PM by Andrew Ellison - firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated: Feb 11, 2013 5:46 PM
CORPUS CHRISTI - Our special report on your tax dollars continues tonight as we take a look at how the city spends money on cell phones for employees.
As we all know, cell phone bills can get pretty expensive with all that texting, calling, and data usage.
So when it comes to its employees and their cell phones, the city came up with a way to cut costs in half.
In the month of December, the city paid around $18,000 for its cell phone plans, but just a few years ago, that number would have been double that at $36,000.
Prior to 2010, city employees were given a phone and a specific plan, but city officials say the problem was many of the minutes weren't even being used.
So they got rid of them, and now, most employees use their personal phones.
And when they use their personal phones for city use, they fill out a sheet, put down the amount of hours they used, and submit it to their supervisor to get reimbursed.
The change cut the amount of cell phone bills the city was paying in half and resulted in roughly $125,000 a year in savings.
Michael Armstrong, from the city's Municipal Information Systems department, says employees are happier too.
"Our people like the flexability of being able to manage their own plans. If they need a family plan, that's not a problem now, and they get to choose the kind of phone they use," he says.
Only a few employees still have city issued cell phones, like officials in the police department who need to keep in contact with other officers throughout the day.
And aside from that, the rest of the money goes to paying data plans.
In the end, Armstrong says the city owed this change to the citizens.
"We have a responsibility to manage as efficiently as we possibly can, because it's not our money, it's the citizens money," he says.
Armstrong added that in the years to come, the city might even get to a point where employees bring all their own devices to work, like laptops, IPADS, etc... And the city would simply pay for the data usage and manage the network security.
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