Louisiana audit shows wireless device waste

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A new report shows the state of Louisiana paid over $1.3 million for state employee cell phones and other wireless devices that were never used.

The audit from the Louisiana Legislative Auditor shows there were more than 4,300 phones and other wireless devices like air cards in question. Some of the devices had no activity for a year.

"Twelve hundred and twenty three of these devices were not used for ten or eleven months out of the year, so a considerable amount of cost for something that was not used," said Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera.

Barry Erwin is the president of the nonprofit Council for a Better Louisiana and agrees with Purpera.

"A million three is a significant amount of money when we've been trying to save every nickel and dime we can during this legislative session," Erwin said.

Erwin said the Division of Administration, which oversees state cell phones, missed the mark by not having proper policies in place.

"We don't have the policies in place that look at these things on a regular basis, so we don't know exactly how we're spending our dollars," Erwin added.

The audit made the following recommendations to the state:

The Division of Administration should create guidelines to determine "the acceptable amount of time a wireless device has no activity before the device is deactivated."

The audit also recommended, "The Division of Administration should require each entity to evaluate and determine if implementing cell allowances would result in cost savings."

The report also points out the state paid just over $126,000 for employees who exceeded data plans.

In its response, the Division of Administration Commissioner Paul Rainwater said the department will change its procedures.

"This administration is strongly committed to cutting costs throughout state government, and we have already begun working with state agencies and service providers to implement the recommendations listed in the report," Rainwater said.

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