KRQE-TV.com - by Kim Holland - SANTA FE (KRQE) – The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) spent thousands of dollars to replace its older phones with new, high-tech ones but four years later hundreds of them are still in their boxes, collecting dust.
In 2010 NMDOT purchased 1,384 Internet based Cisco phones for $117,640 so districts across the state could keep connected. According to NMDOT’s Cabinet Secretary Tom Church, the new phones use the Internet for calls eliminating expensive landline long distance costs. “They have a camera feature so you can do video conferencing, other than that they’re just a regular phone, only they use a different wiring system or internet system,” says Church.
All government entities are required to use the Department of Technology’s phone system but, four years ago when the previous administration purchased the phones for $85 each they didn’t realize the new system violated state statute.Today, 850 phones sit in their original boxes waiting to be installed in the Santa Fe office – more than $72,000 worth of new technology unused.
KRQE News 13 asked Church what’s taken so long. Church replied that the transferring of all the equipment is complicated, “We just haven’t gotten there yet. Ya know, phones don’t go bad.”
Others however like Republican Senator Mark Moores of Bernalillo County, say taxpayer money is not being put to good use. “When we spend taxpayers’ money we need to make sure it gets out there and used for taxpayers’ benefit,” he said. “It can not collect dust, if it can’t be used at this department we need to make sure it’s used somewhere else.”
Unfortunately, NMDOT’s Cabinet Secretary said there’s no timeline when the new phones will be installed. More