Most employees of the city of Los of Angeles who have used cell phones that were given to them by the city have done so unnecessarily and in the process have racked up a bill of around a million US dollars over the course of last year, according to a new report. City Controller Wendy Greuel says that her audit shows that thousands of dollars per month were thrown away on services such as call forwarding, directory assistance and text messaging, while at the same time the city was paying cell phone carriers far more than they should have or actually needed to because officials were spectacularly failing to capitalize on plans and offers that would have provided cheaper rates.
Greuel, who is one of a number of prominent Los Angeles officials who have been calling for the city’s cell phone bill to be scaled down, is proposing that not only should each department negotiate its own deals with carriers in order to secure cheaper rates, but that many of the old cell phones currently in use should be taken from employees and just not replaced. “I gave up my city cell phone,” Greuel says, adding that taking cell phones from some city employees would end up saving Los Angeles over a million dollars in total. “I have to wonder whether it’s more of a luxury than a necessity,” she adds.