To the editor:
The March 6 article in the Daily Journal mentioned that the Greenwood City Council is looking at allocating approximately $7,000 for the purchase of an iPad for each of the nine council members. This raises many questions for me.
First of all, it was asserted that there would be no cost savings for the city to buy these devices and no information was provided to show that iPads were needed for the council members to do their jobs. The discussion further mentioned needing an additional $2,000 to pay for wireless Internet connections for each.
I have no problem providing employees the tools they need in order to do their jobs. However, the council is not a full-time job. The need for an iPad to do research was not supported. Research can be done on taxpayer-funded computers at the libraries or on idle computers at the city building if a personal computer is not available.
If separate computer access is needed for these folks to do their jobs, why not invest in laptops that are much less expensive?
To agree to the purchase of iPads or any computer equipment is not the end. The units would be government property, as well as the software, security control and continued upgrades that would have to be installed. Greenwood city
government IT would have to monitor the use of the equipment to ensure that it is only used for city of Greenwood purposes.
This would include periodic checking of emails, performing back-ups on the city servers, maintenance, etc. Security of the equipment to prevent loss, misuse, etc., is a serious component. This costs money. What sounds like a minor one-time request/expense is not so.
The city is still looking at ways to cut corners. Is it prudent to purchase computer equipment and provide IT support for council members? With all these issues, I do not believe the time is right to provide this equipment and IT support at taxpayer expense.
The annual salary for each council member is $11,812. With the requested $9,000 ($7,000 for iPads and $2,000 for Internet access), this is $1,000 more per council member, or roughly an 8 percent raise for each. If that is what the council is wanting, they should just be open about it.
I would support giving each member a raise and then each could buy their own iPad or laptop and be responsible for their own maintenance, upgrades, Internet access, etc. Since these elected officials serve for four years, it would be reasonable to give them a $25- a-year raise to help defray the costs. Then we can keep the city out of the business of being responsible for the equipment and keep spending under control.