LOS ANGELES (CBS) — An audit released Tuesday says the city of Los Angeles could save almost $5 million a year by taking back the cell phones issued to employees.

City Controller Wendy Greuel wants a 60 percent reduction in the number of city-issued cell phones starting July 1, the first day of the incoming fiscal year.

An audit found that 6,560 cell phones issued by city-controlled departments cost about $4.8 million a year. Proprietary departments whose budgets are separate from the city, like the Department of Water and Power, handed out another 5,251 cell phones.

“When we’re closing libraries and leaving potholes unfilled, it defies comprehension that nearly 12,000 city employees need cell phones,” Greuel said. “With the city facing a $350 million budget deficit, only those employees considered essential — such as Emergency Management and first responders — should be receiving this perk.”

Greuel said she plans to return her city-issued cell phone and urged other officials to do the same.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

Comments (8)
  1. ginny says:

    Ms, Greuel reported this a few months ago and turned it over to the Mayor and Council for action. Guess Mayor Tony just turned a blind eye again. The original report also moentioned how many cell phones are sitting in a warehouse collecting dust. When is the council and mayor going to get off of their behinds and act on these types of waste. Every little item adds up.

  2. Less Welfare says:

    I wonder when will they cut the free handouts?? I got some neighbors who never leave for work, they just go out to drop-off their kids to school or pick them up. The cuts should be across the board…

  3. swhitS says:

    Old news but apparently no one has done anything about it. I guess between the illegals and cell phones they just keep taking hard earned taxpayer dollars. Perhaps taxpayers should strike until this mess is cleaned up once and for all?

  4. Maria,Loyal staff member says:

    NO,NO,NO, we need our phones and Antonio will make sure we are taken care of. you know we pay taxes too! your all just jealous because your not on Mr Antonio Villiaragosa’s staff We love You Sir this city need more people like Mr Villaraiogsa 🙂

  5. RevvingItUp says:

    The Math Just Doesn’t Add Up. Here’s Why:
    Let’s say that if each employee had a top end smartphone plan from the most expensive cellphone provider (Verizon).And that each employee was able to get a brand spanking new smartphone each year. This is what it would look like:

    $110.00 Verizon unlim talk+text+data x 6,560 phones = $721,600 per year.

    $199.00 x 6,560 new smartphones = $1,305,440 per year
    (Awesomeness, I would love to get that new Samsung Vibrant 4G with the new Inception movie pre-installed on it via T-Mobile…but that’ just me)

    That still leaves $2,772,960 left over. Here are some possible uses:

    1. Filling 5,545 potholes at $500 per pothole
    2. Preparing 138,648 sandbags for emergencies at $20 per sandbag.
    3. Giving a Starbucks cup of coffee to everyone in the entire City of L.A. (I would even include you Maria, the loyal staff member 🙂

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