Alderman: Cell phone cuts not enough

Evanston aldermen Monday approved a new contract with Sprint — part of a re-examination of Evanston’s cell phone costs that the city manager says will cut the city’s total bill by 27 percent.

But Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, said the cuts don’t go far enough.

Assistant City Manager Marty Lyons said that as of a couple years ago the city was paying more than a quarter million dollars for cell phone service, and under the latest program, which reduces the number of employees who get city-paid phones and offers stipends to others based on their expected phone usage for work, the cost will fall to $152,000.

But Rainey said, "Everybody else pays for cell phones out of their own pocket. A lot of other places don’t have to cut down on cell phone expenses because they’re not paying for it at all."

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz said Evanston "is within the top three percent of communities in the country for saving money on cell phones." And he suggested that employees might say they’re not going to use their cell phones for work at all unless the city provides the phone or reimburses the cost.

Bobkiewicz said he’s taken away 47 phones from employees and given them less expensive phone stipends instead.

Under the plan aldermen approved the city will be paying for 328 cell phones and providing an 49 phone stipends to city employees.

The city currently has slightly under 800 full-time-equivalent employees.

Related document

Sprint wireless agreement and staff memo

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