Brown orders state workers to give up 48,000 cell phones

Gov. Jerry Brown ordered state workers to turn in 48,000 government-paid cell phones by June 1, a move that Brown said will cut state cell phone usage in half and save the state $20 million a year.

Brown took the action Tuesday n an executive order – his first in his new term.

The Democratic governor said the state pays for some 96,000 cell phones, or one for 40 percent of all state employees.

“It is difficult for me to believe that 40 percent of all state employees must be equipped with taxpayer-funded cell phones,” Brown said through his press office. “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.”

Brown’s staff said the “state can continue to reduce cell phone usage throughout the year,” adding that “some cell phones may be under term contracts with cell carriers, and he wants to make sure that the state does not incur early termination penalties that exceed the monthly savings.”

The average bill for a state cell phone is about $36 a month, according to the Department of Finance.

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