Shortly after Byron Brown took office as mayor, 15 economic development agency employees were issued BlackBerrys. City Hall paid for them with block grant funds -- money that's supposed to be fighting blight and poverty.
Brian Reilly, the city's economic development chief, defended their use, saying they increased worker productivity. Problem was, many of the folks issued the nifty devices spent their days working in City Hall and thus had a phone and computer at their desks.And not everyone issued the devices really learned how to handle all its features.
In short, not the best use of $30,000, especially given its intended purpose.
The second floor of City Hall agreed.
Janet Penksa, Brown's budget chief, took one look at the BlackBerry use and balked. She recommended to the mayor, who in turn ordered Reilly to take back the devices for all but essential work that involved working outside the office. Nine of the 15 BlackBerrys were turned back in last week.
Reilly was among those who had to fork his over. Between that and the demotion, it was a rough week, I guess.
Noteworthy: This blog passed 500,000 page views over the weekend. Thanks to all you readers for your eyeballs.