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December 1, 2011

Maragos: Excessive Phone Lines Cost County Up To $1.2M

Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos released his Information Technology Telecommunications audit which found thousands of more telephone lines than employees, some of which are no longer working for the County. In response to the Comptroller’s audit, IT stated they identified “4,600 suspect or unverified lines” during a survey conducted last year. The audit found the excess lines cost the County up to $1.2 million during a twenty month period from January 2010 to August 2011.

"There must be greater oversight and control of the Verizon telephone billing,” Comptroller Maragos said. “The IT Department will need to double its efforts to review the Verizon bills to bring telephone service charges under control and save millions for the taxpayers.”

The excess and unauthorized phone lines are the result of inadequate review of the monthly Verizon bills and an oversight to request for unused telephone lines to be disconnected.

Below are illustrations of some departments with a significantly greater number of phone lines when compared to number of employees:

 

    • The Planning Department with 136 lines for 37 employees;
    • The Department of Social Services with 1,558 lines for 968 employees;
    • The Treasurer’s Office with 75 lines for 38 employees.

The IT reclamation initiative intended to eliminate unneeded lines was a good first step, but more needs to be done to find and eliminated unnecessary telephone lines. The monthly service charges actually increased from December 2009 through November 2011 and more lines were added than deleted.

The County IT Department agrees that the excessive Verizon lines need to be eliminated and they must develop a more comprehensive telecommunication policy to control telephone services provided to employees. IT indicated that they may be hampered in implementing the audit findings recommendations due to lack of staff.

"There should be no reason that unnecessary lines are not being disconnected immediately. The necessary resources should be dedicated to verify the accuracy of Verizon billing,” Comptroller Maragos concluded.

PDF File Limited Review of the Nassau County Department of Information Technology Telecommunications Management