Governor to disconnect 48,000 cellphones in hands of state workers [Updated]
Alarmed at discovering that the state pays for 96,000 cellphones, Gov. Jerry Brown issued an executive order Tuesday seeking to cut in half the number of devices being billed to taxpayers.
Requiring 48,000 cellphones to be turned in by June 1 will save the state about $20 million a year.
“It is difficult for me to believe that 40% of all state employees must be equipped with taxpayer-funded cellphones,” Brown 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 cellphones, but the current number of phones out there is astounding.”
The new governor is looking for ways to cut waste to help him dig the state out of a $25-billion budget hole, which has also required him to propose asking voters to extend some existing taxes.
Brown also wants to reduce the number of state vehicles. There are 13,600 light-duty vehicles, including cars and vans in the state fleet but not including the 12,000 that are used by public safety agencies, including California Highway Patrol. Brown is requiring that each vehicle’s purpose and necessity be "rejustified," his budget said.
"Only vehicles necessary for critical state functions will be retained and only when retaining such vehicles is cost effective," the budget said.
-- Patrick McGreevy
[For the record, 11:18 a.m.: An earlier version of this report incorrectly said the executive order was issued Monday.]
Photo: Jerry Brown discusses his budget plan on Monday. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press