Brown Orders 48K Cell Phones To Be Collected

SACRAMENTO (CBS) — Government-paid cell phones will be the first casualty of Gov. Jerry Brown’s cost-cutting measures.

Brown directed state agency and department heads to collect and turn in 48,000 government-paid cell phones by June 1, 2011, his first executive order since taking office last week.

Brown estimates that the state can save at least $20 million a year by cutting cell phone usage in half. The state now pays for 96,000 cell phones.

In a release from the governor’s office, Brown said that some cell phones may still be under contract with carriers, and wants to make sure that the state does not incur any early termination penalties.

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

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.

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