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Cell Phone Abuse

March 5th, 2009 by flanews

Last year the state spent 17 million dollars on cell phones, PDAs and other wireless communication devices. The Florida Office of Government Accountability is asking lawmakers to adopt statewide policies to cut down on the expense. As Whitney Ray tell us, some state employees are cancelling their service to save taxpayer money.

Your state representative is just a phone call, text message, or Blackberry IM away. You can even catch them texting during state business.

In the past lawmakers depended on landlines at their desk that dialed straight back to their office, the came pagers, cell phones, and Blackberries and the ways to communicate keep changing.”

Tax dollars don’t pay for Senator Dave Aronberg’s Blackberry and that’s probably a good thing, given how much he uses it.”

“I’m now BBMing, which is a special kind of messaging on Blackberry, I’m Facebooking and Twittering, and I think to my self only two years ago I wasn’t doing any of those things,” said Aronberg.

Senator Aronberg supports a call to cut down on the number of state cell phones. The state spends 17 million dollars a year on wireless communication devices. CFO Alex Sink assembled a tax force to investigate cell phone abuse.

“We found out that people that left the department and we’re still paying their cell phone bill,” said Sink.

CFO Spokesman Kevin Cate cancelled service to his state issued blackberry.

“This is not something where police offices should give up their Blackberries, but those of us who are blessed with our own personal Blackberries, we’re paying the fee anyway,” said Cate.

A report from the Office of Government Accountability found state cell phone policy is so loose; some agencies are spending much more on contracts because they don’t even ask for a bulk discount.

The agency with the most cell phones is the Department of Corrections with more than 7,000. The Department of Health has the next highest number with 3,100.

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