The City of Toronto has included in their budgets a new hire to help manage the municipality’s 1,800 BlackBerry devices. The position is one among 1,300 new jobs the city plans to add this year.
The position will pay $84,000 annually, and duties will include assisting with device selection, rate plans, getting staff set up and trained, troubleshooting, and providing technical support for the Blackberry Enterprise Server infrastructure. The wireless IT staff must also ensure integration and synchronization with the city’s Novell Inc. Groupwise e-mail environment.
“We are seeing substantial growth in BlackBerries [sic] devices and computing technology at the City in general,” the city said. “Many of the City’s program areas are adopting IT to help them improve their services or make their services more efficient. So it’s not just about supporting this area, we have a lot of growth requirements that we’re trying to accommodate.”
But according to Ward 3 Etobicoke Centre councillor Doug Holyday, the hiring of a BlackBerry specialist misses a fundamental problem at the city – the lack of a smart phone rollout policy.
“We’ve got close to 2,000 Blackberries and no criteria or policy as to who gets them,” he said.
Holyday wants to see more involvement from the IT section of the City to determine which employees truly need the functionality of a BlackBerry device.
“It’s a great tool and it’s very valuable to those who need it, but my problem is that we’ve given it to people who don’t truly need it,” he added. “But that’s the trouble with the City, they just open up their coffers, which (are) full of tax dollars, and it’s just too easy for management to say ‘I’ve got one, so my assistant need ones as well.’”
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