Key and essential Copperas Cove city employees will use their personal cell phones for work as a result of a change to the city’s telecommunications policy recently approved by the city council.
Previously, city employees were issued a separate cell phone for work use. City Manager Andrea Gardner said many employees said having to carry two cell phones, one for work and one for personal use, was cumbersome and they would rather carry only one phone.
Eighteen city employees will be responsible for purchasing a cell phone and maintaining cell phone service. The types of phones and service will be dictated by city policy, and the allowance set will be sufficient to ensure the employee doesn’t lose money, Gardner said.
The current city cell phone plan is limited on usage for both phone calls and text messaging. If an employee or block of employees exceeds the number of talking minutes or text messages allowed under the city plan, the city is charged extra for the additional usage. Employees can often times acquire a much better plan with more minutes and unlimited text messaging.
The allowance under the new policy means employees will be provided a set dollar amount pre-determined by city administration and any additional charges incurred above and beyond the allowance will be covered by the employee. Should an employee fail to maintain cell phone service/availability while receiving the allowance, he could forfeit the allowance and be subject to the city’s progressive disciplinary policy, Gardner said. Employees are required to provide their cell phone numbers for city use and dissemination.
The city spends an average of $199 per employee every other year purchasing or upgrading cell phones.
The additional savings to the city is not having to pay for overage on calls and text messages beyond the plan. The city’s cell phone vendor was paid $36,422.47 for service between August 2012 and July 2013. Gardner said there is no fee to the city to cancel the contract with the current phone vendor.
The city has not set a date when the new policy will go into effect.