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Orange County

Norby Requests Cellphone Audit

Details are lacking on county employees' calls, supervisor says. Annual bill tops $1.5 million.

September 15, 2004|David Reyes | Times Staff Writer

An Orange County supervisor on Tuesday called for an audit of cellphone use by county employees.

Supervisor Chris Norby made the suggestion during Tuesday's board meeting, saying constituents had complained about an apparent lack of oversight and individual employee cellphone bills as high as $7,400 a year. An Aug. 29 story in The Times said the county's annual cellphone bill was more than $1.5 million.

Norby said he would like to know what phone plans are being used, who should be issued cellphones and whether employees are reimbursing the county for personal calls.

"With all these high phone bills, it strains credibility that no personal calls were made," Norby said.

Norby's remarks were made at the conclusion of the regular board meeting and were not on the meeting's agenda. Consequently, his request is only advisory, staff said.

The Times story also revealed that the county had no comprehensive policy governing cellphone use until County Executive James Ruth issued a four-page set of rules in August.

A review of county cellphone bills provided to The Times showed that total charges increased 82% from the 2000-01 budget year to $1.58 million in 2002-03.

The number of phones increased from 1,812 in 2001 to 3,575 in 2004.

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