Thursday, June 26, 2008

Monroe County Waste - Clean Up before Laying Off

There are two big bucks items that the County is missing for potential savings.

1. Copy machines
There are huge Xerox copy machines in almost every office in the County. The last Director of Technical Services pissed off a commissioner's aide (guess which) by suggesting that they share a machine with the Marathon Airport. Nope. Didn't happen. "Too much confidential information" said the aide, in an office governed by Florida Sunshine laws. (Little do they know that investigators can snoop at any time, copying their "confidential information" for anything run through the machine to a disk drive. The marvels of modern technology!)

Now, both this commissioner's office as well as the Marathon Airport pay thousands per year EACH for a lease for 40,000 copies per month for a shiny new Xerox machine a total of almost 1,000,000 pages per year out of ONE BUILDING! Do you thing they're actually copying that. Nope. Not 10% of that, I'd guess. These deals were done individually by each department, "under the radar" by the use of a lease appoved by a County other than Monroe!

There are 4 or 5 of these Xerox machines at every facility. THE COUNTY IS PAYING FOR MILLIONS OF SHEETS OF PAPER PER YEAR THAT THEY'RE NOT USING! Budde's Office Supply is one of the highest paid vendors of the County. County employees have tried to buy copy machines competitively and Budde goes nuts and call every commissioner every time the issue is raised.

Solution: Get rid of all but ONE copy machines IN EACH BUILDING and save $100k OR MORE per year - two employee's jobs! Make those big ass county employees walk a few more steps! 2.

2. Telephone system maintenance
There is a full time technician from AT&T that is on site at Monroe County for which the County pays over $120,000 per year. He's made a career there and has worked there for more than 20 years - yes, onsite at Monroe County as an employee of Bell South, now AT&T. He's a great guy, but the County has likely paid more for his services than any other single employee.

Considering the fact that he brings his own tools and truck, $120k isn't a terrible deal, but I know of FEW organizations of fewer than 1,000 employees who has a full time tech doing nothing but telephone and wiring work.

Solution: Get rid of this contract by invoking the non-funding provision of the contract and BID OUT for a pay-as-you go contract for service. The huge Nortel switches the County owns have capacity for FOUR TIMES the current size, the County bought TENS OF THOUSANDS of dollars worth of options that have NEVER been implemented by AT&T and it is hopelessly outdated. There are PILES AND PILES of purchased and unused telephone equipment lying in rooms all over the County. Call your commissioner and ask for a tour of the telephone rooms in the Gato and Harvey buildings, the Marathon EOC, Courthouses and the Ellis buildings. Ask, like I did, "whats this?" and you will find Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars worth of Unused Junk. Time for an eBay auction!

There are a number of LOCAL wiring and computer companies who would love to have this contract or get wiring contracts and save the County thousands. The County should follow the School Board's lead, who implemented a telephone system that is MUCH less expensive to operate and gets rid of EXPENSIVE customer AT&T services.

If you don't believe any of these things, file a Sunshine request with the Clerk of Court for information about BellSouth AT&T payments and payments to Xerox and Budde's. The smoking guns are there.

And a certain technical services director was fired about a year ago for, among other things, raising these issues of waste to the previous Administrator's attention. Gee, no one wants to look bad, do they?

Let's see if the new Administrator has the balls to clean this up, but beware - the Deputy Administrator and the Telecommunications Administrator say that they're "close personal friends" but, of course, that would, "never affect their working relationship."

Yeah, right.

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