Sunday, December 2, 2012

Can You Hear TML Now?

As reported by Terrie Morgan-Besecker of The Times Leader, our city has been spending an average of $35,000 to $40,000 a year for Cell Phone, while the second class city of Scranton nearly twice our size has NONE!!!!

Mayor Chris Doherty of Scranton, said the city stopped providing cellphones in January 2011, and “There have been no problems at all. Everyone has a phone anyway.”

City Council Cell Phone:

Tony George, Maureen Lavelle, George Brown, and Bill Barrett, all have Smartphone’s with 400 minutes of calls plus unlimited night/weekend and mobile-to-mobile minutes.

As of September, Lavelle had used a total of 491 minutes for all types of calls, the bills show. George used a total of 799 minutes, while Brown used 1,172.

Councilman Bill Barrett, who has had a city-supplied cell phone for several years, was the highest user with 5,447 minutes as of September. Barrett, who does not have a personal cell phone, said he also uses the city phone to check his city email. Barrett, said he believes the phones are important because they allow constituents to more readily contact council members.

  • That and it saves you on your household expenses!

Barrett said he wants to keep the city phone. Given the city’s financial situation, he’s willing to pay for it himself. “I think it’s too important not to have. Rather than give it back, I’d rather pay for it,” he said.

  • Wow: Billy, thanks, now that were so broke we can't afford to pay attention, you'll pay. 
  • Why not just buy your own from the start, oh wait now that Terri caught you, now you’re willing to pony up the dough! If not for this type of mentality we might not be so broke!!!

President Mike Merritt said he was offered a phone, but declined it.

  • As our loyal readers will attest Wake Up Wilkes Barre is usually very critical of Council President Mike Merritt for his behavior at council meetings, but when you see a story like this, and you realize that someone actually turned down a freebie, and not because they ever thought it would make headlines, but simply because it was the right thing to do. It really makes you appreciate what a truly honorable person Mike Merritt can be.
  • So with that Thank you Mr. Merritt, for not following in the footsteps of your wasteful counterparts.

After Terrie’s investigation:

City Administrator Marie McCormick and Administrative Coordinator Drew Mc-Laugh-lin said the administration believes cell phones are important, but officials are planning to reduce the number of phones.

  • Sure you are Drew, just like the administrations not fueling at DPW any longer???? 

Dozens of employees routinely incurred excess usage charges above the monthly plan fee, costing the city an additional $2,452

One phone assigned to Edward St. Hart, a health inspector who left city employment in 2010, was not canceled until 2011, meaning the city paid $302 for a phone that went unused.

  • Glad to see all your experience is being put to good use!

Neither Mc-Laugh-lin nor McCormick could explain why nothing was apparently done to address excess usage charges numerous employees incurred.

  • How about nobody cares to check, this is a tax & spend administration!!!

Photo courtesy of The Time Leader
Mc-Laugh-lin said employees are issued phones based on the specifics of their jobs.

Kevin Egroff, a mechanic in the Department of Public Works, was the top user of voice minutes of all 60 cell phones through September 2012, with 22,268 minutes used. That translates to an average of 41 hours a month, or more than 10 hours per week for a person who spends the bulk of his time in the city garage fixing vehicles.

  • A mechanic, really Drew? He’s in the garage all day, isn’t there a phone at DPW he can use to order parts?

Paul Ginter, whose primary job is to write grants, was a heavy user of data, The Times Leader’s analysis showed. 

Data usage on cell phones is most commonly incurred when a user visits a website, checks emails, sends photos or downloads a document, application or other media source.

Records show Ginter routinely used 5 to 8 gigabytes each month, and once used as much as 10 gigabytes a month. “Quite honestly, I don’t see where it’s an issue. I can take a call at any time,” he said. “I look at Pandora as a radio … It’s not interfering at all with me being able to do my job.”

  • How about the fact that it’s not your phone. It belongs to the taxpayers, and your streaming, music, videos, porn, whatever should not be permitted, as that has nothing to do with your job function.

Mc-Laugh-lin said city officials will look into the issues raised by the newspaper’s analysis and take action, if needed. “The phone is a privilege.

  • Fix the barn door after The Times Leader told you it was broken!!!

Wake Up Wilkes Barre


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