Office supplies are essential for any business, but one government organization is facing a backlash after purchasing $374 headsets and $153 automatic tape dispensers.
The Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is under fire for poor fiscal oversight by county auditors after the organization spent more than $709,000 in 2015 for supplies and equipment, according to the Los Angeles Times.
"It's appropriate to keep employees safe and healthy," Philip Browning, head of the DCFS, told the Times. "We spend a huge amount of money on workers' comp. We need to address that."
The DCFS director said that equipment purchases were made to decrease future workers' compensation claims. Payouts for injuries topped $14 million a year in the previous two years.
The department's spending included outfitting employees with iPhones, ergonomic furniture and dictation technology. In addition, one employee's request for a $49 doze alert — a device that wakes someone who has dozed off — was approved.
"In a time when foster children and foster parents struggle to have their basic needs met, we should be buying solid, cost-effective office equipment — not some of the most expensive stuff on the market," Aubrey Manual, president of a foster parent association, told the LA Times. "I think it's appalling that money meant to keep abused and neglected kids safe and improve their lives is instead being wasted on this stuff."
In 2014, the Los Angeles DCFS spent $348,000 for supplies. Spending more than doubled in 2015.
This isn't the first time that county auditors have criticized the DCFS's fiscal practices. Previously, the organization was blamed for the loss of thousands of dollars in bus tokens which had gone missing from an open cabinet that was accessible to the whole office.