Red ink draws cuts

Troy Anderson, Staff Writer
Created: 02/15/2010 09:23:50 PM PST

Los Angeles County may be drowning in red ink, but at least it won’t be coming from $40 pens anymore.

And county bureaucrats will no longer be able to sweep costly mistakes under $131 floor mats.

Shocked to learn public employees have been able to choose between fancy pens and 24-cent ballpoints, county officials are eliminating thousands of high-ticket items from the official office supplies catalog.

“I wasn’t aware (they had such choices), but with our new program in place if someone wants to buy a pen that is not on the approved list they will have to go down to the store and purchase it themselves,” Chief Executive Officer Bill Fujioka said.

The effort is one of several Fujioka estimates will save taxpayers nearly $100 million a year. This includes savings of $3 million by eliminating unused phone lines, $6.4 million by reducing contract costs and $50 million by creating a more efficient pharmaceutical purchasing system.

They hope to cut the county’s annual pen bill to just $33,000 from a current $195,000.

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