Audit shows city spending more on phone service than comparable cities

Created: 12/12/2013 10:14 PM
By: Danielle Todesco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The city of Albuquerque has an astronomical phone bill.  An internal audit just revealed they are spending millions more than comparable cities, and even more than bigger cities like Denver.

KOB Eyewitness News 4 got a tour of the basement at Albuquerque City Hall.  We saw where old phones go to die.  One by one, the city's old phones are showing up there as Albuquerque joins the 21st century.  

An audit found the city could save millions of dollars by updating their phone system.  It is something other cities have already done.  Chief Information Officer for the city of Albuquerque, Peter Ambs, says it's a one-time cost of up to $20 million dollars, but he says the switch will pay for itself in a few years.

"You've got to change out all your network equipment, you've got to put in the new technology and it's that initial investment that has caused us to lag behind in terms of getting this completed," Ambs said.

The landlines weren't the only outdated technology wasting money.  Another part of the audit revealed the city was still paying for nearly 400 pagers, even though almost every department admitted they haven't used them in years.  After turning them all off, they saved $52,000 dollars.

The audit also revealed about thirty city workers who had "excessive" cell phone usage.  Ambs says they are people in departments like APD's Crisis Outreach who definitely have a good reason for going over on their minutes.

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