Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Editorial: Laptop dilemma: Efficiency, cost savings vs. appearances

"A proposal to purchase laptop computers for Muskegon County commissioners needs close review."

A well balanced editorial from The Chronicle.

An additional perspective:
Best Buy has a high power (3 GB ram) laptop for $350.
The county estimate for each laptop for the commissioners is $1391 with warranty and MS Office.
Open Office, a free version of MS Office is free.

The county's only stated reason for the taxpayers to foot the bill for commissioner's laptops is that it will provid savings on printing and mailing costs.
The county reports $2000 in mailing costs.
The commissioners are in the county building twice a week.
Why are they mailing ANYTHING to commissioners?
Can't they simply pick up all paper when they are in the building?

They can start saving taxpayer's money today.

The county reports printing costs of $3857.
That is because the current policy is to print everything for every commissioner.
Commissioners have told me that many commissioners go to their county mailbox and dump most of it in the trash.
If the commissioners cared about cost, they would only print what they need.
They can start saving taxpayer money TODAY.

Not to mention that most of what is printed is already online for those commissioners who have home computers.

Our county commissioners are paid $16,000/yr plus full medical benefits, including dental and vision care.
And for those who qualify, lifetime medical and pension.
A total cost to the taxpayers of about $25,000 per year.

And these part-time employees want us to pay for free laptops?

Most commissioners already have desktops and laptops at home.

We've heard no cry from them that important information has been unavailable.

They already have the tools.

If laptops would provide such great efficiencies, why has no commissioner brought theirs to county meetings?

(yes, one commissioner brought his last week and flailed around with paper during the meeting.)

Their actions speak louder than their words.

Free laptops are not a "tool" for these part timers, they are a statement from our elected commissioners to us.

I hope we listen to them very carefully!

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