Winnebago County looking at County-issued cell phone usage

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- Winnebago County is taking a closer look at employee cell phone usage as they try to close the gap on a budget deficit.

The County currently doesn't have a policy in place that governs who receives a cell phone, what model they receive, and how they use it.

The County has 448 active mobile devices, including cell phones, tablets, and mobile hotspots. 68 devices are in a suspended state, usually reserved for elections. The latest monthly bill added up to just over $11,000. These costs also include several departments, including the Sheriff and Coroner. When compared with the number of devices, each one costs roughly $25 per month since the County is able to use the same discount the State of Illinois receives for it's devices.

Chairman of the Usage Committee, Jean Crosby, says this task force was designed to look at ways to streamline how devices are issued and used. "The cell phone policy is definitely budget-driven. Wherever we can have economies of scale and save the taxpayer money, we have an obligation to do that. So that is really the heart and soul of this. We want to find a way to streamline everything and save the taxpayer."

The Committee will continue to pour over data from billing statements and then make recommendations to draft a cell phone usage policy.

The drafted policy cannot be enforced in departments such as the Sheriff or Coroner, but it can be used as an overall guide that each department can use to draft their own policy.