Procurement Staff

John Storti
(781) 736-8686

Courtney Sampson
(781) 736-4266

Ellie Hunter
(781) 736-4484

Mark Jay
(781) 736-4505

Paola Briamonte
(781) 736-4510

Cell Phone Policy

In an effort to bring consistency and fairness to the support of cell phones and data plans used by Brandeis staff and faculty, the University’s Policy Committee has approved new standards and guidelines, effective August 1, 2015. Below is information on the new policy, actions you need to take within your individual department, and some answers to frequently asked questions.

Overview:

Currently, the use of Brandeis-sponsored cell phones varies widely from department to department, creating huge disparities in who is receiving financial support for their cell phone and data plans and how much they are receiving. To create standardization in this area, the policy committee spent a year analyzing the situation at Brandeis and researching the best practices from other universities and not-for-profit institutions.

Many institutions have moved away from direct support for cell phones altogether, under the philosophy that in this day and age, almost everyone has a cell phone and data plan. This is completely different from even 10 or 15 years ago when fewer people carried cell phones and voice and data service plans were much more restricted.

Brandeis recognizes that the use of cell phones and mobile access to data is critical for certain job functions. For this reason, the University will provide a pre-established, tax-exempt stipend of $50 per month to cover business-related cell phone and data plan expenses.  This stipend will be provided only to specific individuals in your department who you approve as meeting the criteria under the policy guidelines (see below) and who are then registered with the Office of Financial Affairs.

Brandeis will no longer purchase or own any phone equipment (with a few public safety and facilities exceptions, noted below) or carry service contracts used by employees. Employees will maintain their own equipment and service contracts.

We understand that this change will create some disruption for some employees. However, we believe that clearer definitions of who is eligible and consistency in the stipend level is the right approach and the fairest thing to do.

Q & A

Who is eligible for the stipend?

To receive cell phone support from the University, an employee’s specific duties must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • The employee is involved in public or campus safety
  • The employee’s position has been identified as critical to be in contact 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • The employee is engaged in frequent, ongoing travel that requires a device with unlimited data service

Are there any exceptions?

  1. Charging cell phone expenses to Federal Awards:  Regulation for Administrative Expenses for Federal Awards can be found here: http://www.brandeis.edu/financialaffairs/sponsoredaccounting/policies/Unallowable Costs Policy.pdf
  2. A higher stipend level may be required in very select circumstances where higher data charges are warranted.   The Senior Vice President in charge of the area in question may approve an increased stipend or an occasional request for payment as warranted for increased charges over and above the standard stipend amount.
  3. In specific circumstances, Brandeis owns equipment that is switched from employee to employee. (For example, public safety officers and RD’s on call.) Brandeis will continue to own this equipment.
  4. All exceptions must have written approval by the Director of Procurement and the President, Senior Vice President and/or Dean of the area in question. 

How will the stipend be paid?

The eligible employees will receive a $50 per month, tax exempt stipend in their last paycheck of each month.

What if an employee is currently on a Brandeis service contract?

Those employees who are currently on a Brandeis contract – and therefore never receive a bill for their own cell phone and data usage – will be required to establish their own service contract with Verizon, AT&T, or another service provider.

Verizon and AT&T representatives have been notified of this change. Employees should visit the procurement website for instructions on what they need to do to switch from a Brandeis service contract to their own service contract. For questions about this, please contact Mark Jay at mjay001@brandeis.edu or extension 64505.

Please note: Employees who make this switch will be able to keep their current phone number. Also, Brandeis employees enjoy a 15% discount on services and accessories from Verizon and AT&T. AT&T is offering employees a $50 rebate.

What if an employee currently has a phone or smart phone that was purchased by Brandeis?

We will not take back any phone previously purchased by the University. The employee may keep that phone – and their phone number - but they will be required to have their own service contract for phone and data usage.

What if an employee has been paying their cell phone bill with a Brandeis University Procurement Card?

Mobile devices may no longer be purchased using a P-Card, nor may data services be billed to a P-Card. All such expenses will be denied by the Office of Financial Affairs.

What if my cell phone bill is greater than $50 per month?  Will extra payments be made?

The stipend is not designed to cover the base cost of coverage, it is designed to cover data and roaming charges that may be warranted given the type of work an employee does that requires them to have a cell phone supported by Brandeis.   If an employee incurs additional data charges above and beyond the $50 stipend, their manager may will review supporting documentation and determine if an incremental one-time payment should be approved.

Who is on the Brandeis Policy Committee?

Irv Epstein, Interim Provost and Chair of the Policy Committee

David Bunis, Chief Legal Officer and Assistant Secretary and Clerk of the Corporation
Marianne Cwalina, Senior Vice President for Finance and Treasurer
Andrew Flagel, Senior Vice President for Students and Enrollment
Kim Godsoe, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs
Steven Locke, General Counsel

Steven Manos, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Christina Williams, Associate Provost for Budget and Planning