Governor Brown Orders Massive Cell Phone Cutback for State Employees


SACRAMENTO – In his first executive order since taking office, Governor Jerry Brown today directed state agency and department heads to collect and turn in 48,000 government-paid cell phones-half of those now in use-by June 1, 2011.

Brown said the state now pays for 96,000 cell phones, one for 40 percent of all state employees. He estimated that the state will save at least $20 million a year by cutting cell phone usage in half.

“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.”

Brown said his goal is to cut the number of phones in half by June 1, and said he believes the state can continue to reduce cell phone usage throughout the year. He explained 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.

“Because of contract obligations, it is possible that we may not be able to 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.

“Even with a 50 percent reduction, one-fifth of all state employees will still have cell phones,” he said. “That still seems like too much and I want every department and agency to examine and justify all cell phone usage.”

Brown’s estimate of at least $20 million in annual savings assumes that the average cell phone bill is a bit over $36 a month, which the Department of Finance has determined is the average cost.

“In the face of a multi-billion dollar budget deficit, a cell phone may not seem like a big expense,” Brown said. “But spending $20 million, and perhaps far more than that, on cell phones can’t be justified. We’re facing a budget crisis in California and I want to achieve all possible, reasonable savings. We have one of the best state workforces in America, and I am confident that all state employees will understand the need for this move and will cooperate.”

Brown said he expects to find additional savings throughout state government as his new appointees examine all areas of spending.

Full text of the Governor’s Executive Order is copied below:


WHEREAS; the Governor’s 2011-12 budget proposes to close California’s chronic structural budget deficit and provide a strong and stable foundation to meet future needs; and

WHEREAS the Governor’s 2011-12 budget relies on real and ongoing solutions; and

WHEREAS the Governor’s 2011-12 budget proposes to close the State’s structural budget deficit in a balanced and sustainable manner, in part through substantial reductions to state operations that will create a more efficient and effective government, while protecting core services; and

WHEREAS the Governor’s 2011-12 budget proposes to cut state operations by reducing waste and redundancies and associated costs; and

WHEREAS State agency secretaries and department directors, in consultation with the Department of Finance, are being ordered to review operational costs and to identify ways to reduce waste, redundancies and associated costs; and

WHEREAS the Governor’s 2011-12 budget sets a goal, among others, of cutting by 50 percent the roughly 96,000 cell phones authorized for use by state employees, to achieve savings of at least $20 million; and

WHEREAS state agencies and departments under the Governor’s direct executive authority are being ordered to demonstrate a significant business need for an employee’s use of a state-issued cell phone or smart phone, and to procure the most appropriate and cost-effective phone, data, internet and other usage plans for those cell phones and smart phones for which a significant business need does exist.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, EDMUND G. BROWN JR., Governor of the State of California, by virtue of the power vested in me by the Constitution and the statutes of the State of California, do hereby issue the following orders to become effective immediately:

IT IS ORDERED that all State agency secretaries and department directors, in consultation with the Department of Finance and any of its designees, document and review all authorized cell phone and smart phone procurement and related phone, data, internet and other usage plans for and by their employees and identify and implement, by June 1, 2011, cuts sufficient to meet or exceed a 50 percent reduction in the number of cell phones and smart phones for which the State is currently responsible and achieve at least $20 million in savings.

IT IS REQUESTED that other entities of State government not under my direct executive authority implement similar cuts.

This Executive Order is not intended to create, and does not create, any rights or benefits, whether substantive or procedural, or enforceable at law or in equity, against the State of California or its agencies, departments, entities, officers, employees, or any other person.

I FURTHER DIRECT that as soon as hereafter possible, this Order shall be filed with the Office of the Secretary of State and that widespread publicity and notice be given to this Order.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 11th day of January 2011

Governor of California


Secretary of State