California Gov. Brown strips cell phones from state workers

Calif. Gov. Brown strips state workers\' cell phones
Calif. Gov. Brown strips state workers' cell phones

California Gov. Jerry Brown has issued an order to strip away about 43,000 cell phones from state employees in order to help the cash-starved state get back in the black. I have very mixed feelings about this.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the move will save about $20 million a year and while that won’t solve the $14.5 billion shortfall over the next 18 months, it is a start. The average tab for state workers’ cell phone bill is about $36.

“It is difficult for me to believe that 40 percent of all state employees must be equipped with tax-payer funded cell phones,” Gov. Brown said in a written statement. “The current number of phones out there is astounding.”

Gov. Brown is probably right that there are too many tax-funded cell phones out there and once you start reducing a few million here and there, it can start to add up to real money. Like many governments, the California system is full of bloat and inefficiencies, so I’m sure we could trim the fat off many departments.

I live in California and was very wary of Gov. Brown because he’s an old dude who may not be totally on the ball with current technology and how it can impact modern problems. While I’m sure many state employees use these devices to check Facebook on the go, a cell phone and smartphone are productivity devices and should be part of any major organization’s plans.

Does every state employee need a taxpayer-funded cell phone? Probably not. But we can’t just pretend this is the 1970s (when Jerry Brown was also the governor) and think that workers can be more effective without modern tools.

Making the government most cost-effective and efficient are priorities but I don’t know if stripping cell phones is the way to do it. Am I wrong on this one, friends?

[Via SFGate]


    Where is Linda Ronstadt when you need her to entertain the Old Dude

    • Anonymous

      love this comment

  • Anonymous

    Good for him. California is running a huge deficit, I would rather they cut costs than the rest of the country (read, our taxes) go towards bailing them out.

  • Anonymous

    Good for him. California is running a huge deficit, I would rather they cut costs than the rest of the country (read, our taxes) go towards bailing them out.

  • Anonymous

    Whether a person needs a cell phone or not can be debated all day long. But, most of those who need a phone for personal use will buy one on their own. And most actual calls and phone usage are for personal reasons (including…compulsion to check work emaiils from your phone rather than your desk at work). Therefore, it makes more sense for a company to expect its employees to buy their own phone. If cell-phone usage is required for work, perhaps the company/state can reimburse the employee for a part of their phone usage…but certainly not the whole thing. I think Gov. Brown has actually moved thinking on this issue forward in assuming that a phone is something an employee comes to the job with (like clothes)…and the employer does not need to provide this convenience. Again, I would say that if REQUIRED work usage pushes the bill up, the company should reimburse the employee for the difference. But a phone is a convenience for the employee…and NOT something required in MOST jobs…despite what the phone obsessed and addicted might say.

  • 67letmein
    maybe we should figure out how much this FREEBIE costs the American taxpayers Nationwide. Any child that gets a free lunch, free Medicaid, free this or that, is also entitled to free cell phone and WE get the bill

Back to top ▴