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No Phones? No Problem

No more desk phones in the city administrator's office. (Photo courtesy of William Singer for D.C. Wire)

How is the D.C. government's budget crunch affecting city workers? Look no further than City Administrator Dan Tangherlini's office on the fifth floor of the John A. Wilson Building. That's where you'll find that the Fenty Administration's No. 2 official and his two dozen aides had their desk phones removed a few weeks ago.

The office is the guinea pig for a pilot program in which employees who have government-issued cell phones will no longer have land lines, an effort to improve efficiency and save money. For a while, at least, the phone numbers into Tangherlini's bullpen still worked, with the calls being automatically forwarded to cell phones. But recently, the desk numbers completely stopped working.

William Singer, Tangherlini's top budget aide, said the administration will assess how much money the strategy saves and, if successful, expand the program to other agencies. The government has issued 11,623 cell phones--roughly one for every three employees, Singer said. If, someday, those employees also gave up their land lines, that could add up to some real savings, he said.

"We'll see if it can be done," said Singer, who took the photo above with his Blackberry camera phone.

By David A Nakamura  |  October 23, 2008; 8:00 AM ET
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I thought DC Government had their own phone system? I'm all for improving efficiency but how do you save money from yourself?

Posted by: Brice | October 23, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

It costs time and money to maintain 1000 phone lines. if you only have 500 to maintain it will cost less. Though the amount of savings may or may not justify it.

While DC may have it's own phone system, this is likely outsourced to a contractor to provide the service. Same logic above applies, the fewer phone's to maintain, the less it will cost.

Posted by: rpixley220 | October 23, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

DC Government does not outsource phone maintenance to a contractor. It's all done in-house. But yes, you are correct, maintenance and hardware does cost money.

Posted by: cbr1 | October 23, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

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