Audit: LA Wasted $1M On City-Issued Cell Phones

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Amid falling revenue and a yawning budget gap, the city of Los Angeles wasted an estimated $1 million on cell phone costs for public employees, according to an audit released on Wednesday.

City Controller Wendy Greuel told KNX 1070 the audit revealed a total lack of data on just how many cell phones and smart phones were issued across various city departments.

“We found out that we didn’t have a number of how many cell phones we even had in the city of Los Angeles,” Greuel said. “There was no one in charge or minding the store.”

The audit reviewed seven city departments with contracts for over 11,800 cell phones, including proprietaries such as the Dept. of Water & Power, which had the most city-issued phones at 3,971.

After the DWP, the Los Angeles Police Department had the most phones at 1,525, followed by L.A. World Airports (872), the L.A. Fire Department (798), the General Services Department (580), and the Department of Building and Safety (494).

“We found at a minimum that we could have saved $1 million by just managing the existing contracts that we have, being sure people were not abusing the system,” Greuel said.

Departments controlled by City Council members provided an estimated 6,500 cell phones to employees at a cost of $4.8 million in 2010.

Greuel said there were also approximately 550 phones that were simply being held and not used at a cost of “thousands of dollars”.

The audit is ultimately aimed at offering the city a roadmap towards increased savings and stronger oversight, but Greuel says the sacrifices must first being at City Hall.

“I gave away my cell phone,” Greuel said. “I have just a personal cell phone, my plan allows me to have unlimited calls and texts and I can do that without having the city have to pay a dime.”

Comments

One Comment

  1. TT says:

    Thanks Again Wendy for doing right by the people of they city🙂 Keep up the good work 🙂

  2. eric d doane says:

    Here we see yet another example of government waste. It clearly demonstrates governments are not accountable for their actions or lack of action. An independent Contracts and Purchasing Group should be established, voted upon by registered voters and/or property owners within Los Angeles County. Additionaly, this goup would be subject to an outside audit conducted by one of the top five audit firms on an annual basis.All purchases and contracts would be handled by the aforementioned Group . Additionaly, any expenditure by the city exceeding $ 100,000 per year would be subject to review by City Councel members at their monthly meetings, and require approval or additional justification prior to payment of these obligations.

  3. TAMI says:

    LOS ANGELES COULD OF USED THAT MONEY TO HELP THOSE IN NEED BUT INSTEAD, ONCE AGAIN, THEY WASTED OVER A MILLION DOLLARS! HEY LOS ANGELES— TAKE A TRIP TO SKID ROW. IT’S REALLY HARD TO MISS. IT’S ALL THOSE STREETS WHERE PEOPLE ARE LIVING IN CARD BOARD BOXES AND UNDER THE FREEWAY!

  4. KeithS says:

    Gee, Villaraigosa can’t take free Lakers tickets and now they may take away his cell phone. Too bad, next time he is at the Oscars he may actually have to start thinking being mayor means more than just getting a bunch of goodies. He obviously doesn’t think his job entails doing any real work. .

  5. ginny says:

    I work for a large global company and 2 years ago they stopped paying the, up to, $40.00 a month we used to be able to expense for work related cell use. When we submitted our montly expnses we needed to make sure that we could provide them valid proof of what calls were actual work related versus personal. Before that company I worked for one that had a small dpartment that reviewed all employee desk phone call history and if they found non-work related toll or long distance calls they sent bills to each employee. What is wrong with the City? Where are the controls? Where is the accountbility and crackdown on fraud and mis-use?

  6. Brian Lynch says:

    Didn’t they do this same audit a year or two ago and discover the same thing? It does no good to find the problems if you’re not going to fix them as well.

  7. MADINLA says:

    THIS IS WHY CITY WORKERS HAVE TO TAKE FURLOUGHS.
    THERE IS NO MONEY TO PAY EMPLOYEES.
    WITH THE FOUR UNIONS VOTING AGAINST THE MAYOR ON HIS CONTRACT
    NOW THESE PEOPLE HAVE TO TAKE 36 FURLOUGH DAYS AND YET MILLIONS ARE BEING SPENT SO CITY WORKERS(MAYOR’S OFFICE) CAN HAVE CARS TO DO THEIR PERSONAL STUFF
    HOW UNFAIR. WITH THESE FURLOUGHS POLICE STATIONS WILL HAVE TO CLOSE DOWN EVIDENCE ROOMS WHICH WILL CAUSE POLICE OFFICERS TO TRAVEL FURTHER TO TAKE THEIR EVIDENCE AND LOWER THE AMOUNT OF POLICE OFFICERS IN THE AREA SINCE THEY WILL BE MILES FROM THERE JURISDICTION. GOOD LUCK PEOPLE IN THE CITY OF LA.BLAME THE MAYOR NOT THE POLICE DEPARTMENT

  8. LT says:

    This city is operated by a bunch of buffoons’ and they want more taxes.

  9. icecream says:

    WHO is in charge ?????????????
    Mayor VivaLaRaza, the city controller, and the city council MUST be held accountable.
    Employees who have to try to support their families, pay for housing, food, education, medical needs, etc are suffering as they are being unjustly furloughed.
    First he $crew$ the news reporter, now the entire city !
    He said “We clean your toilets”. Now he is cleaning our pockets.

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