SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — As part of deep state spending cuts, Gov. Jerry Brown has ordered state agency department heads to collect and turn in 48,000 government-paid cell phones by June 1, 2011.

“It is difficult for me to believe that 40 percent of all state employees must be equipped with taxpayer-funded cell phones,” the Governor said. “Some state employees, including department and agency executives who are required to be in touch 24 hours a day and seven days a week, may need cell phones, but the current number of phones out there is astounding.”

The phones account for half of the government-issued phones now being used by state employees, according to a press release sent Tuesday from Brown’s office.

Contract obligations could make it difficult to eliminate all of the phones by the June 1 deadline.

“Because of contract obligations, it is possible that we may not be able eliminate all 48,000 cell phones by June 1, but it is also conceivable that we can do it earlier – and that is my hope,” Brown said.

Brown says he believes the state can continue to cut cell phone costs throughout the year.

It is anticipated that the state will save $20 million by eliminating the phones.

Comments (45)
  1. Vonnie says:

    Now it would be nice to see Jerry cut the pay of legislatures who already make too much money and take away their per deim and leave the “little” people alone. Why is always the “little” guy to get hurt? Go after all the people who owe millions of dollars in back taxes@

  2. cyberage says:

    Lets get rid of state employees having cars paid for by the state. Also, take away cars that are used for personal use. Quit buying a more expnsive cars when a entry level Ford Focus will do, and take away the state issued gas cards.

    1. chris says:

      i agree with you on the car thing. You could take it a step further and make them all drive commuter distance eco cars like a hybrid or a leaf……actually nevermind. Those cost a lot more than the Focus. How about pay based incentive car pooling in a Focus… now that might save something…

  3. Concerned State Worker says:

    Some state workers legitamately need the phones. My office responds to emergencies 24/7 and the phones are the primary way we are contacted to report in at any hour due to an emergency (such as earthquakes, fires, floods, pandemics, etc.). I do see others who don’t have a need for them though. But hey I will gladly turn mine in because then I don’t have to respond to emails when sick or on vacation.

    We really need to look at other areas though as Vonnie suggested. Legislators are being paid money they don’t deserve. They should lose their pay when the budget isn’t passed on time. Why do they need state vehicles? And mind you their vehicles are not the lower end cars, but Lincoln’s, Cadillacs, etc. Why do they need the expensive cars? Remember the one who got in an accident in her car and the state had to pay? She was under prescription meds at the time.

    Alas, it is always going to be the lowly state workers who are struggling to get by that face the cuts. Not sure how that helps the economy really. We still pay taxes like private sector employees and are at least working to support ourselves instead of living on welfare or unemployment, so maybe it is time to look elsewhere for the money. Take from the ones who are making the most instead of the ones making the least.

    1. Bob says:

      See this is the mentality that gets us in this situation. You know darn well StateWorker most likely has little to no justification for a phone assigned to her personally. And I’d wager that “24/7 emergency availability” isn’t for actual emergency services but for something else like Public Affairs or Finance. Even so, how can you justify paying for 24/7 of coverage when “emergencies” don’t happen every hour and every day? How about we just reimburse you for the cost of the emergency calls when and if they happen? And watch, this is where they turn around and say “you can’t expect me to use my personal phone for work” or “what if I don’t have a phone” (yeah, right).

    2. Re-evaluate says:

      Oh, no, the lowly state worker feels so put upon for overvaluing her own worth. Newsflash, lady: your salary and benefits combined are likely 10-30% higher than what you could get in the private sector. And for those private sector wages you will be expected to work at better than your current 50% efficiency. Yes, I see all of you taking your 30 minute walks around the Capital at 10am.You think people don’t see sitting down in Starbucks at 9am? And it seems odd that you can drive all the way to Roseville and back during your lunch hour. Lady, face the fact: you are on welfare–we just call it State Employment.

    3. Shannon says:

      Everyone is in a world of hurt (financially). At least the state workers have jobs, which can’t be said for a staggering amount of the population. We need to reevaluate the incomes of the legislature as well. They shouldn’t be exempt from feeling the financial woes. Maybe that way, they will feel pressure to actually accomplish something.

  4. Michael Canfield says:

    Well jerry brown is old and for old people cell phones are not important nether is the internet, WELCOME BACK TO THE OLD WAYS CALIFORNIA

  5. R. Wall says:

    I wonder if the constituional offices will have to comply with his request. They have not complied with what has happened to other state employees over the past two years. I think if they took steps to save money on their end the entire state might benefit.

  6. intheknow says:

    As a former State employee in construction services around the state I was more then willing to use my own cell phone for business calls. I just don’t see why many supervisors need a state phone when they spend most of there time in the office.

  7. Shannon says:

    California needs a serious crack down on spending and an extended raise in taxes to get out of this hole! State workers need to man-up on taking some cuts also. They are the most pampered set of workers I have seen. Not to mention the legislature. The financial issue is a state-wide problem and all of us have to sacrifice for a solution.

    How is it that the excess amount of cell phones for state workers flew under Arnold’s radar!?

    Keep it up Jerry!

  8. wendy says:

    Send these phones to the soldiers in Afghanistan! Men & women put their lives on the line for us everyday…give these to them…

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