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CFO Sink Calls for Greater Oversight of State-issued Cell Phones and Blackberries after Oppaga Findings

3/5/2009

CONTACT:  Kyra Jennings or Kevin Cate
(850) 413-2842
 
TALLAHASSEE– Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink today called for greater oversight of state-issued blackberries, cell phones, and aircards, following the release of an Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) analysis indicating that over $17 million is spent each year on the state-issued devices.
 
“Everyday Floridians expect the responsible use of their tax dollars in Tallahassee. Within my own agency, I’ve created a taskforce to figure out ways to cut costs and use these wireless resources effectively and I urge other agencies to do the same,” said CFO Alex Sink. “The OPPAGA report released yesterday only further highlights the need for greater accountability and oversight of state-issued devices.”
 
According to an OPPAGA Research Memorandum released March 3, 2009, no single source exists for information about state-owned cellular telephones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and related electronic devices, although the number of these devices is estimated to be approximately 41,000.  The memo recommends that the Legislature establish statewide policies governing wireless devices and that the Legislature direct agencies to improve the reporting of such devices.
 
Prior to the release of the OPPAGA findings, CFO Sink had created a Wireless Communications Cost Efficiency Team to analyze how the Department of Financial Services could more effectively use wireless resources and save money.  The OPPAGA memo noted that DFS has 1135 state-issued wireless communications devices, less than 3 percent of the overall number such devices.
 
“I encourage lawmakers to strongly consider the recommendations suggested in the report, including directing state agencies to improve their reporting of wireless device costs.  This would allow for more transparency and accountability around how we’re spending taxpayers’ money,” CFO Sink continued.
 
As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink  oversees the Department of Financial Services, a multi-division state agency responsible for management of state funds and unclaimed property, assisting consumers who request information and help related to financial services, and investigating financial fraud. CFO Sink also serves as the State Fire Marshal.