California governor targets cell phones

  • Gov. Jerry Brown answers a question on his approach to dealing with an estimated $25.4 billion state budget deficit during news conference where he released his $84.6 billion general fund state spending plan at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, Jan. 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown is hanging up his state-issued cell phone, and he's ordering half the state bureaucrats who have government-paid cell phones to do the same.

Brown says there's no need for four of every 10 state employees to have taxpayer-funded cell phones. He says some employees may need to stay in touch around the clock seven days a week, but the proliferation of cell phones is "astounding."

On Tuesday, Brown used his first executive order to instruct department heads to cut off 48,000 state employee cell phones by June.

That's half of the 96,000 phones issued to state bureaucrats. Brown says dialing back the number of phones will save $20 million a year as the state fights a $25.4 billion budget gap over the next 18 months.

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