It is the practice of Layton City to provide equipment, services and other resources necessary to perform job-related duties in a professional manner. Where necessary, the City will provide a city owned cell phone or a cell phone allowance to personnel where it is determined to be in the best interest of the City. The purpose of this regulation is to document the policies related to the justification and usage of cell phones for City business.
The purchase of city cell phones for employees, or the provision of a cell phone allowance to employees shall be limited to those instances in which there is an ongoing demonstrated need for such equipment to perform official City business as determined by the department director with the approval of the City Manager. Convenience alone does not constitute a demonstration of need. Department directors will ensure that cell phone services are used in the most effective and economical manner.
The criteria that justify the need for cell phone use include, but are not limited to the following:
- To enhance the safety of the employee and/or the public.
- To increase productivity or service to the public.
- The position is required to be contacted on a regular basis and there is no other adequate means of communication available (i.e. office phone, radio).
- The position is required to be on-call outside of normal work hours as a job requirement.
- The employee is a critical decision maker.
Providing City-Owned Cell Phones to Employees
Department directors may authorize the purchase of a city cell phone and calling plan for authorized employees when ongoing official city use of a cell phone is required. The equipment and plan purchased should be that which best meets the needs of the City only after considering the availability of other less costly means of communication. The purchase and distribution of City owned cell phones will be handled:
- under the direction of the Police Chief for employees of the Police Department;
- under the direction of the Fire Chief for employees of the Fire Department; and
- under the direction of the Management Services Director for employees from all other departments.
City owned cell phones should be used only by the employees they are issued to, and only for official City business. However, it is acknowledged that emergencies may occur that can result in minor incidental personal usage. When such personal use occurs, calls should be kept to a minimum length. Any further personal use is not allowed.
Employees shall not use City owned cell phones to send or receive pictures, text messages, or video messages unless it is City related and approved by the department director. In addition, ring tones, wallpaper, and video games should not be downloaded onto City cell phones.
Cell phone accounts are billed on a time-used basis, and should not be used when a less costly alternative method of communication is safe and available. City employees should make a genuine effort to avoid directory assistance charges whenever possible.
Any damage to a City-owned cell phone should be reported to the employee’s supervisor. If lost or stolen, the employee should immediately report the loss to his supervisor and the City’s cell phone coordinator so that service can be cancelled. If the damage or loss is due to employee negligence, that employee will be required to pay at least 50% of the cost of replacement.
Layton City reserves the right to audit all City-owned cell phones and their use, which will include, but not be limited to, a review of the monthly billing.
Department directors are responsible to ensure the continued need for each city cell phone, educating employees using city cell phones about this policy, and monitoring city cell phone usage in their department.
Upon separation from employment, the department director is responsible for ensuring that the cell phone equipment is returned for future use, or to be returned to the cellular service provider.
Cell Phone Allowance
When in the best interest of the City, a monthly cell phone allowance may be issued to employees required to use a cell phone to perform their official city duties. The allowance will be considered taxable income to the employee, however it will not be considered as part of the employee’s salary. The allowance is intended to cover the majority of expected city usage for an employee’s personal cell phone and calling plan, recognizing that the employee retains the benefit of personal usage and having control over the equipment and plan selected. The level of the allowance will be determined by the employee’s job duties as they relate to cell phone use and access. The City will review and set the amounts to be provided for allowances on an annual basis.
Department directors should submit a completed Cell Phone Allowance Authorization Form to the IT Manager by January 1st of each year listing each employee from their department who is authorized to receive a cell phone allowance for the next fiscal year, along with the corresponding allowance level approved. Once all the forms are received, the MS Director will submit these forms to the City Manager for final approval. Approved forms will then be forwarded to the Finance Department for processing. When changes need to be made, department directors should immediately submit an updated Cell Phone Authorization Form to the IT Manager as needed. Cell phone allowances will be paid on the last paycheck of each month beginning December 2009.
Employees receiving a cell phone allowance agree to the following:
- Employee will purchase cellular phone service and equipment and assume responsibility for vendor terms and conditions. Employee agrees that he/she is responsible for plan choices, service levels, calling areas, service and phone features, termination clauses, and payment terms and penalties.
- Employee agrees that he/she is responsible for the purchase, loss, damage, insurance, and/or replacement of phone equipment.
- Employee will promptly report to the department director any updates or changes regarding cell phone numbers or plan changes that could impact the access to cellular service.
- Employee agrees to carry the cell phone with them, keep it charged and in operational condition, use it appropriately, and be accessible for city use of the cellular phone device as required by the department director or supervisor.
- Employee agrees to contact HR to discontinue the stipend when a job change no longer requires the employee to receive the cell phone allowance or the employee cancels his/her cell phone services.
Cell Phone Allowances for the 2009-10 Fiscal Year
City Usage Allowance General Guidance
Low Usage $20.00 350 minutes
Medium Usage $30.00 351 - 800 minutes
High Usage $40.00 Over 800 minutes
Data Plan (if required) $10.00 In addition to cell phone allowance
Use of a cell phone while operating a vehicle is discouraged. Employees should generally wait until they arrive at their destination, or pull off the roadway and stop before making and receiving calls. Employees are responsible to use good judgment and obey all laws when considering the use of a cell phone while driving.
Except as provided in "exceptions" below, employees may not use a cell phone while operating a moving motor vehicle on a highway in the state of Utah to manually;
- Write, send, or read a written communication, including:
- A text message;
- An instant message; or
- Electronic mail;
- Dial a phone number;
- Access the internet;
- View or record video; or
- Enter data into a cell phone.
Exceptions: The above paragraph does not prohibit an employee from using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle:
- When using a cell phone for voice communication;
- To view a global positioning or navigation device or a global positioning or navigation application;
- During a medical emergency;
- When reporting a safety hazard or requesting assistance relating to a safety hazard;
- When reporting criminal activity or requesting assistance relating to a criminal activity;
- When used by a law enforcement officer or emergency service personnel acting within the course and scope of the law enforcement officer's or emergency service personnel's employment; or
- To operate:
- Hands-free or voice operated technology; or
- A system that is physically or electronically integrated into the motor vehicle.
If a cell phone is found to contribute to a preventable accident involving a city employee while operating a vehicle during work hours, disciplinary action may be taken, up to and including termination.
Transition Provisions for Existing City Owned Cell Phones
A department director may allow an existing city-owned cell phone, currently assigned to an employee, to be transitioned to that employee’s private cell phone service plan as part of the "Cell Phone Allowance" approved for that employee. The cell phone will remain city property and will be returned to the city either upon termination of the "Cell Phone Allowance" for that employee, or when the employee no longer desires to use that phone, whichever occurs first. Replacement of a transitioned phone for any reason is the responsibility of that employee.