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No Policy in Place for CAB Cell Phones
July 16, 2008 - While not listed as an official perk that comes with their jobs, seven Charles A. Beard Memorial School Corporation employees currently enjoy the benefit of free personal cell phone calls.
Records and information obtained from CAB over the past two months reveal that school corporation cell phones are issued to the following employees: Business Manager David Bundy; Technology Director Bruce Sowers; Facilities Director Mike McKillip; Transportation Director Janet White; Carthage-Kennard Elementary Principal Shirley Heck; Nurse Tracie Smith; and maintenance worker Gene Neff.
Nearly two months ago, The Banner asked CAB to provide copies of billing statements received in July and December of 2007, as well as April of this year. Although not requested, CAB also ended up providing an additional billing statement received in June 2007 for the six phones on its Verizon account, and one received in May 2007 for Bundy's phone, which was through AT & T.
While most of the requested records were provided in a timely manner, the bill received in July 2007 for Bundy's phone was not provided until just last Friday. Bundy told The Banner that a copy of that billing statement and two others could not be located at the central office and duplicates had to be ordered from AT & T.
CAB does not receive itemized accounts of cell phone use by White, Heck, Smith and Neff; the portion of the Verizon billing statements for those employees simply shows the total number of minutes used. There are detailed bills for Bundy, Sowers and McKillip, however.
According to the bills for Bundy, he had 75 minutes of cell phone use for calls made in April 2007, with no calls being made on the weekends, and only two calls totaling 11 minutes made during the week after 5 p.m. By contrast, in March of this year, Bundy's cell phone use totaled 789 minutes, with 45.4 percent of those minutes being on the weekend or after 5 p.m. during the week.
Bundy's cell phone use for June 2007 was 448 minutes, with 45.8 percent of phone use being during the week after 5 p.m. or on the weekends. Last November, a fifth of the 489 minutes of his cell phone use was on the weekends or after 5 p.m. during the week.
When asked if anything changed with his job that explained the dramatic increase in cell phone use between April 2007 and the higher amounts in the other months, Bundy answered no. Asked why he used his cell phone instead of his office's land line during the day, he said, "It just depends on whose calling and what they're calling about.
"There are times when I could be here at the office and someone would call me on my cell phone just because they're not sure where I'm at," he continue. "Or they happen to have my cell phone number and didn't want to have to go through calling someone at the front desk."
An examination of Bundy's cell phone bills, however, clearly reveals that most of the calls are outgoing, not incoming. For example, of the 67 weekend calls this March on Bundy's cell phone, only 15 of those were incoming, and only 13 of 48 calls after 5 p.m. during the week were incoming.
Asked if he makes personal use of his cell phone, Bundy answered, "Oh, yeah. Everyone that has phones has. … The cell phones we have as a corporation, they're used for business, but … obviously, people use them for personal calls as well."
According to Bundy, CAB has no policy in place that restricts personal use of the phones. "To my knowledge there has been no instruction about what they're to be used for or what they're not," he said. However, Bundy said he thinks CAB should consider changing the way cell phones are handled.
"Really, what I think we should do and what I would like to consider is, if we have any changes to the policy, I would just like to have it where … if the corporation deems that someone needs a corporation (cell) phone of some kind, that they would just get some type of stipend for it."
Bundy said he thinks it would be too difficult for CAB to try to police personal use of cell phones. "That's why I think a stipend of some kind would be a better way to do it," he said.
Like Bundy's AT & T bills, the itemized Verizon billing statements for Sowers and McKillip also revealed substantial use on weekends and in the evenings during the week. On the bill received this April, Sowers had 598 minutes of cell phone use, with nearly 29 percent of that occurring on weekends or after 5 p.m. during the week. The bill received in December revealed 37.6 percent of 441 minutes of phone use being on the weekends or after 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Sowers had 419 minutes of use on the bill received in June 2007 and 516 minutes on the bill from the following month; the percentage of use on weekends or weeknight evenings for those two months was 28.4 and 11.4, respectively.
The billing statements show 605, 596, 495 and 792 minutes of cell phone use by McKillip on the statements received, respectively, in June, July and December 2007, and this April. The percentages of use on the weekends or after 5 p.m. during the week for those months was 34.7, 25.5, 22.6 and 21.5.
Because the other four CAB employees with cell phones do not have itemized bills, The Banner was unable to analyze their use on weekends and in the evening during the week. The billing statements do show, however, that Heck had the highest number of minutes of cell phone use by a CAB employee - 911 minutes on the bill CAB received last December. A bill received in June 2007 showed 260 minutes of use by Heck, and there was 159 minutes and 319 minutes of use, respectively, on bills received last July and this April.
White registered 350, 228, 338 and 586 minutes, respectively, for the bills received in June, July and December 2007, and this April. Smith’s cell phone use on those same bills was 135, 13, 128 and 121 minutes, while Neff’s was 130, 101, 60 and 204 minutes.
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