Aldermen vote to revise city cell phone policy

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

For many people cell phones are a part of everyday life, serving as a way to stay connected to friends and families. For those who work outside of a traditional office, they are often essential tools for business as well.

Regardless of whether a cell phone is used for business or pleasure, finding the right plan can be a challenge. ConcordiaCity Administrator Dale Klussman recently experienced this first hand while creating a new cell phone policy for the city.

In the past, the city had always provided cell phones for city employees. However, a recent audit revealed the cost of the policy was too high for the benefits it provided.

Klussman noted the city was paying $32 each month per phone it provided. One employee in particular averaged only seven minutes per month on the city-owned cell phone. Another employee typically used more than four times the allotted limit of 300 monthly minutes.

The new plan calls for most employees to be reimbursed for costs they incur from taking or making city-related calls on their personal phones. The reimbursement can be done either as a pro-rated amount of the employee's bill or a pre-determined amount approved on a case-by-case basis.

Employees with limited or infrequent business use of their phones would use the pro-rated reimbursement, while those who have a consistent level of use that occurs each month would use the pre-determined amount.

Klussman said the city could still purchase phones and commercial plans if a cost analysis shows that it is more economically advantageous to do so. However, any request to purchase a phone and plan must be initially approved by the city administrator and appropriate department head before being sent to the board of aldermen for final approval.

Klussman said city employees had reviewed the policy and a number of questions had been raised. Addressing those issues, Klussman said several points should be made clear.

First, the city will not tell employees what kind of phone to purchase or where to purchase it.

In addition, the city will replace an employee's phone if it is damaged in the execution of their job. In addition, employees will not be required to release their personal cell phone numbers.

Finally, no employee will be forced to use their personal phone.

Klussman said if an employee is denied in their request for a city-provided cell phone and choose not to use their personal phone, they are welcome to use the landline phones in the city's buildings.

Klussman said the policy change could result in a savings of as much as $3,000 per year.

Following the discussion, the board voted unanimously to approve the new phone policy.

Contact Chris Post at

concordiannews@centurytel.net

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