Glendale city officials may drop BlackBerry phones

Glendale city officials are considering tossing out the remaining employee BlackBerry phonesdue to the Canadian company's financial struggles.

While some employees have Android phones, there are still 130 Blackberry devices in use.

“Their future is questionable,” Brian Ganley, Glendale's chief information officer, told the City Council during a meeting this week, referring to the phone maker.

The topic arose as Ganley outlined a slew of technological improvements coming to City Hall, including a new city website, scheduled to launch in January 2014 and new servers for the Glendale Police Department.

Once the smartphone darling, BlackBerry has fallen to the wayside in favor of iPhones and Android devices. Although BlackBerry has attempted to regain ground with a new phone design, the company continues to grapple with financial difficulties.

Ganley said some employees prefer the device because it has a keyboard rather than a touch screen.

“You'll have to pry it from my cold hands,” quipped Councilman Frank Quintero. “No, actually I have an iPhone that I think is a lot better.”

In addition to changing up the phones, Ganley said he had a range of changes he would like to make to the city's outdated technological systems over the next five years. He proposed upgrading the city's email system, creating an e-permitting system to digitize a process that usually requires multiple visits to City Hall and buying new software and computer equipment. Those long-term proposals could cost $6 million to $10 million, according to a presentation he made to the council.

The city could pay for the expenditure with money in an internal service fund as well as borrowing internally, according to the presentation.


Follow Brittany Levine on Google+ and on Twitter: @brittanylevine.


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