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How many city or county employees were issued cell phones? At what cost?

Kevin Maurer

Wilmington and New Hanover County have moved to paying stipends to employees for cell phone use. (StarNews photo by Tammy Miller)

The city of Wilmington provides stipends to employees to offset the cost of using their cell phones. Most of the phones issued by the city are for the police department. The city issued 170 phones costing about $80,000 annually.

City spokeswoman Malissa Talbert said the city has moved away from issuing cell phones and instead provides stipends for most employees. For the 265 designated cell phone users, the city pays $565 a year per user, or about $47 a month, she said.

“This basically means that designated employees now own the phones they are using for work-related purposes and receive a stipend based on usage; employees are billed directly from their cell phone provider and are responsible for all maintenance and charges whether they go over the stipend limit or not and are responsible for any overages or late fees that might be incurred,” Talbert said.

New Hanover County also pays stipends to its employees. It paid 238 stipends in November 2011 for county employee phones, costing slightly more than $10,000, according to Leslie Chaney, the county’s Information Technology director.

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