SALEM — A new audit says Oregon's state government is wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars on unnecessary cell phone charges.

SALEM — A new audit says Oregon's state government is wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars on unnecessary cell phone charges.

More than 8,000 state workers are given cell phones. The secretary of state's Audits Division said today it analyzed information during a one-year period to see if agencies were using the most cost-effective plans.

Auditors determined the state could have avoided at least $182,000 in service charges if it had shifted to lower-cost plans for phones barely in use. Over the same period, the state had about $270,000 in charges for use that exceeded plan limits.

Auditors also found charges for missing phones and recommended that agencies update their cell phone inventories and make sure workers turn in their phones when they quit.

The audit covered charges from Sprint Nextel and AT&T. A third vendor, Verizon, did not provide data.

— The Associated Press