Marion dials back on excess phones
After spending tens of thousands of dollars on 27 cell phones that are now rarely if ever used, the city of Marion is ending its roughly $15,200/year rental agreement for them.
So far this year alone, Marion has paid $11,380 in monthly service fees for the phones, records show. The city’s two-year contract expires at the end of the month.
Marion also has paid $4,217 for monthly service for 23 other Verizon phones. The city has a total of about 25 employees.
The U.S. Cellular phones were supposed to allow employees to use an app to download information and send it to the city without having to go to the office. But that function never worked, city council member Ruth Herbel said Tuesday. The app also was supposed to be free, but it came with an additional $6,000/year price tag, she said.
Former city administrator Roger Holter told Herbel he had collected all the phones and was keeping them in his office, Herbel said.
Herbel asked Tuesday whether the phones could be sold via Purple Wave — a website that government entities use to sell surplus equipment — or donated to a nonprofit organization.
City clerk Tiffany Jeffrey said the phones were in a box.
Jeffrey and city administrator Mark Skiles said they would look into options for getting rid of the phones.