According to the report, DSW spends about $55,000 a year on service contracts for wireless mobile devices, pagers and mobile phones. Based on the historical costs of all eligible DSW employees, WAPA estimates that the implementation of the pilot project will enable DSW to achieve annual savings equivalent to 45 percent of the annual costs of its current mobile service contracts. Wapa explained that this would be in addition to the savings made by not purchasing the communication equipment themselves. Wapa estimates that if DSW does not implement the program, within 5 to 10 years, DSW will spend $11,300 on the purchase and maintenance of communications equipment. We have no objection to wapa repairing employees for the public use of personal mobile phones; However, in the absence of specific legal authority, the WAPA cannot impose a lump sum repayment plan instead of refunding the actual costs. WAPA markets and transfers hydropower and related services to consumers in a watershed comprising 15 states and approximately 1.3 million square kilometres. Due to the significant travel required to reach all of its customers, WAPA considers mobile phones and/or mobile phones to be an essential but costly part of its operation. In the hope of increasing communications and reducing costs, Wapa plans to implement a one-year pilot program in which employees who meet the wapa criteria for using a government-issued communication device can choose to use private mobile phones to complete government calls, instead of a government-issued phone or pager, and obtain a staggered lump sum refund. 4. Given that the WAPA proposal is based on the fact that employees must be reimbursed for the availability and use of their personal mobile phones for government calls, and not just on the cost of individual government calls, reimbursement of actual staff for the cost of government interviews alone cannot provide the government with an accurate measure of the costs and savings of the program. The underlying premise of the WAPA plan is that it receives the availability of devices and devalues them, not just individual calls. Therefore, we would not object to WAPA devaluing employees on the basis of actual costs with a reimbursement rate that, in addition to actual government calls, involves a cost element for the use of the devices. 3.
Some flat-rate mobile phone plans do not list the cost per call. One option for WAPA would be to increase government calls, for example in relation to personal calls multiplied by monthly payments. However, this would require WAPA to implement additional monitoring and accounting procedures. It is common knowledge that 31 U.S.C Sec. 1348 (a) (1) prohibits the use of dedicated means for the installation of telephones in private dwellings or for tolls or other charges for residential telephone services. /1/ We apply the statute to prevent the misuse of public resources for private or private companies, but not to obstruct the public interest if there is an appropriate justification for necessity and appropriate safeguards to prevent abuse. See B-280698, January 12, 1999. For example, in B-229406, on December 9, 1988, we did not object to a proposal to reimburse an agent for the costs of the agreement with the service of a personal mobile phone installed in a private automobile as long as there were adequate safeguards in place to ensure that the government compensated staff only for government calls. Since the public servant provided a monthly invoice that broken down all telephone calls and charges, there was a safeguard to verify government calls and separate them from purely personal calls.