Nebraska Lt. Gov. Resigns in Wake of FOI-driven news…

Wow. This is a really obvious example of why transparency of things like taxpayer-funded cell phones is an important thing:

Rick Sheehy’s long, late-night cell phone calls most often were directed at two former elected officials, both widely known in their communities.

An investigation by The World-Herald found that Sheehy’s most recent flurry of calls was directed at Michele Ehresman, the former head of the Holdrege Chamber of Commerce and a former school board president there.

Ehresman, 40, who was recently divorced, did not respond to numerous requests for an interview in recent days…

An investigation by The World-Herald discovered that Sheehy made 2,300 late-night telephone calls to the women on his state-issued cellphone, many of them long conversations held in the wee hours of the night.

Many of Sheehy’s long conversations with the women were held late at night or in the early morning hours. Sometimes, he would call more than one woman a night, sometimes three different women.

AP: Colorado Government-Funded Cellphone Bill Hard to Figure…

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A nice piece of FOI-driven work from the Associated Press, even if they couldn’t quite put a precise price tag on it…

Colorado officials insist they’re combing through state spending to try to close an estimated half-billion dollar shortfall — but figuring out exactly how much Colorado pays for employees’ mobile devices is nearly impossible, and it’s a tab that largely has gone unnoticed.

And a bit later:

The AP sought public records from 19 state departments for this story.

OIT estimated that Colorado spends about $3.6 million per year on cellphones and other wireless devices, a figure based on multiplying last December’s state bill of about $313,000 by 12 months. OIT officials said it would be impossible to produce annual data for previous years because the information is not centrally maintained. OIT said it happened to have December’s tab but didn’t have other monthly totals available.

Those numbers don’t include employees of Colorado public colleges, whose budgets aren’t centrally tracked, or the state’s 100 lawmakers, who don’t have state-paid phones.

Rep. Jon Becker, a Republican who sits on the Joint Budget Committee, said it should be easier to determine how much the state pays — and for which services.

“Because $3.6 million, if that is the correct (number), and I do not know the correct number at this point, if that is the correct number, it’s not a drop in the bucket,” Becker said.

More at:

http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9M89MEO0.htm

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