NEWS RELEASE RI Department of Administration Fiscal Fitness Program One Capitol Hill Providence, Rhode Island 02908 Contact: Dan Majcher 222-5078
STATE TO SLASH WIRELESS PHONE BILL 25% BY CONSOLIDATING ACCOUNTS SAVINGS PROJECTED TO BE $124,000 EACH YEAR
PROVIDENCE—As a result of Governor Donald L Carcieri’s ongoing “Big Audit” of state government, the Department of Administration is expecting to achieve a 25 savings in its monthly NEXTEL phone bill by gathering dozens of state agency accounts into one statewide billing plan, a move that will also optimize the use of available paid minutes. Purchasing officials anticipate savings of over $10,300 every month.
Leveraging purchasing power by such consolidation is an ongoing part of the Governor’s Fiscal Fitness Purchasing Initiative, the operational phase of the Big Audit.
“Ten thousand dollars a month may not sound like a lot of money in a $6.6 billion budget,” says Brian Stern, DOA Executive Director who oversees the state’s purchasing office. “But our philosophy is, every taxpayer dollar is important, and it all adds up.”
The savings will come from “pooling” purchased minutes throughout state government. Users will not be paying for unused calling time each month; conversely there will be no additional payments for exceeding monthly minute limits by high-use callers because unused minutes will be reallocated.
“It made no sense at all for each agency to have one or more NEXTEL accounts,” said Stern. “By combining them, we get the most service from this provider for the least amount of money. State Purchasing has successfully followed the same philosophy of leveraging purchase power in many other areas as well. This is what Fiscal Fitness is all about.”
The new plan, effective July 1st, is similar to “family plans” available by many carriers. NEXTEL’s “push-to-talk” capacity is used by many state employees within public safety and public works. An additional contract for conventional cell-phone use will be out for bid next month, with its expiration date intentionally coinciding with the expiration date of the NEXTEL contract. The bidding process for conventional wireless services will incorporate many of the same lessons learned by the review of the NEXTEL contract. By aligning the expiration dates of both the NEXTEL and conventional contracts, state purchasing officials are positioning themselves self to consider one wireless communications carrier in future contracts should “push-to-talk” availability become common among carriers.
Jim Berard, Assistant Director of the Division of Information Technology, and Lisa Hill, State Purchasing Buyer, were instrumental in negotiating a better deal for the State.
“Ultimately, it’s all about smarter purchasing by listening to the employees on the front lines,” stated Dan Majcher, the Program Director of Fiscal Fitness, the dedicated “Big Audit” program housed in the Department of Administration. “This opportunity was brought to our attention by the Division of Information Technology’s telecommunications staff here at the Department of Administration, and it was eagerly put into practice by our purchasing staff. These areas both deserve a lot of credit for finding creative ways of better spending taxpayer’s hard-earned dollars.”