Even with a slightly lower price tag this time around, the Pulaski County Council once again denied a request from the county commissioners to purchase four iPads from Verizon. Commissioner Tracey Shorter approached the council last night with the request to purchase the devices and presented new information regarding the proposed purchase.
Shorter said the devices would cost the county $4259 for the purchase of the four iPads, a one-time charge of $199 for two years of protection, and an additional $1404 per year to include the devices on the county’s current shared data plan through Verizon. Shorter said that because the commissioners fund had carried over an amount from last year through various cuts in county expenses by both the commissioners and the county council, she felt that this expense is justified – especially when considering the benefit she claims the iPads would have for the county officials.
Shorter said that the iPads would allow the commissioners to work more efficiently, explaining that it is hard for the commissioners and the county attorney to keep up with the information that is provided in their information packets, and that inconvenience has, in the past, translated to a loss for the county.
Shorter said these kind of situations could be avoided, along with other mistakes, if the commissioners were able to receive electronic copies of the documents on the Fridays before their meeting, allowing them to review the information over the weekend prior to their regular meetings. Auditor Shelia Garling said this would be a bit more work, but she can do this now and email the information to all the commissioners for review.
The council, however, was skeptical; one councilman asked if the commissioners could just use their smartphones or personal laptops to access email before or during the meetings. Shorter said that is a possibility, but she felt it would be inappropriate for the county to ask officials to use their personal devices for government work.
Ultimately, the council decided that the commissioners needed a more concrete plan before they would agree to the purchase of four iPads, and unanimously passed a motion to deny the request from the commissioners.