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Jerry Brown Confiscates 48,000 Cell Phones

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the suede-denim-secret-police dept.

Government 738

Hugh Pickens writes "The Sacramento Bee reports that California Governor Jerry Brown, in his first executive order since taking office, has ordered the collection and return of 48,000 state government-paid cell phones — half of those now in use — by June 1. 'It is difficult for me to believe that 40 percent of all state employees must be equipped with taxpayer-funded cell phones,' says Brown in a written statement. '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's cell phone order directs state agency and department heads to retrieve the cell phones and the governor says he plans to continue reducing cell phone usage in months ahead. 'In the face of a multi-billion dollar budget deficit, a cell phone may not seem like a big expense,' adds Brown. 'But spending $20 million, and perhaps far more than that, on cell phones can't be justified.'"

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YRO? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34851488)

First off, this was covered in every news outlet in the country, yesterday. Second, what the fuck does this have to do with anyone's rights online?

Re:YRO? (5, Informative)

GeorgeMonroy (784609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851528)

It has absolutely nothing to do with any rights.

Re:YRO? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34851852)

what the fuck does this have to do with anyone's rights online?

It has absolutely nothing to do with any rights.

Some dumbass (probably the same guy who modded parent troll) only read the headline and thinks the Governor is confiscating people's private phones. The writeup makes it clear more than once that these are state telephones for state use by bureaucrats who can probably do just as well with land lines. Or they think they have a God-given right for their employer to pay for their personal luxuries. If people were using the phones for personal use, that is embezzlement of public funds and there should be criminal charges brought against the users.

I wonder how California's bureaucratic culture came to deploy cell phones to 40% of its workers, and if the state is going to face serious cancellation charges.

Re:YRO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34851980)

What's a landline? I think my grandparents might have one.

Re:YRO? (1)

Colourspace (563895) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851540)

Because 'online' now applies to many smart (and increasingly not-so) phones?

Re:YRO? (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851838)

And the rights part?

Re:YRO? (2)

Desler (1608317) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852036)

Except that this has nothing to do with any online rights. These people have no 'right' to a state-paid cell phone.

Re:YRO? (2)

Colourspace (563895) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851592)

And, while I'm feeling vaguely 'insightful' ;) - The USA (much as I love it) is NOT the rest of the world, who might still have an interest in the story. Should have used my mod points, instead of feeding the troll.

Re:YRO? (2)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852004)

And, while I'm feeling vaguely 'insightful' ;) - The USA (much as I love it) is NOT the rest of the world, who might still have an interest in the story.

Should have used my mod points, instead of feeding the troll.

Last time I checked, California was something like the world's 5th biggest economy, so it's kind of a big deal whether or not the state goes bankrupt.

Re:YRO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34852034)

Same AC here, don't quite understand how I was trolling. While I acknowledge that this story likely wasn't covered outside of the US, I fail to see why anyone outside the US (or anyone inside the US but not an employee of the State of California) would give a fuck.

Need a bigger knife (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34851536)

He's just nibbling at the edges. He should reduce cell phone usage by killing whole agencies.

Re:Need a bigger knife (5, Insightful)

Jerry Rivers (881171) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851676)

It's really easy to anonymously call for the destruction of bureaucracy without citing a single specific example and providing alternative, less costly solutions to the services provided.

Re:Need a bigger knife (1, Insightful)

InsaneProcessor (869563) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851820)

OK, how about the state board of education being cut in half. It probably could be cut more. They have increased it's size by more than 80% without any improvement in the education system as a result. Reduction in education bureaucracy has always been a significant cost saver. How about a reduction of state funded handouts. A quick analysys shows that 50% of those on the government dole is capably of holding down a job. This would increase their incentive to find work. I could go on but don't have the time right now. I have work to do.

Re:Need a bigger knife (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34851874)

A quick analysys shows that 50% of those on the government dole is capably of holding down a job.

For instance, they can probably spell and use grammar better than you.

Re:Need a bigger knife (5, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851996)

But can they find a job?
Are there jobs available for them to do?

Re:Need a bigger knife (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34851860)

OK, how about these to start:

Department of Rehabilitation

Food Stamps

Educating Illegal Aliens

Re:Need a bigger knife (5, Insightful)

NiceGeek (126629) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851958)

Spoken as someone who probably has never had to use food stamps. Guess what? It's humilating but when I was a kid, with a mom who just had hip surgery, and a father who died while my mother was in the hospital recovering from that surgery, it kept us from going hungry.

It's a safety net, and it's very much needed.

Re:Need a bigger knife (5, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852020)

1. Rehab is cheaper than jail or paying for a junkies ER trips
2. Poor kids really do need to eat.
3. We need someone who can think more rationally than you.

Re:Need a bigger knife (1)

sorak (246725) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852140)

So you are recommending a change in policy as an alternative to looking for more efficient ways to support programs the voters want?

Re:Need a bigger knife (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34852018)

We hire these elected officials to analyze and solve these problems. You want me to do his job for him?

I'm not sold on this. (1, Interesting)

seebs (15766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851546)

My day job got me a cell phone. It is cheaper than the landline I used to have, and it's much more useful, as it also lets me keep up on email and meetings.

Re:I'm not sold on this. (1)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851582)

It's the first post and someone is already calling him on it...

finally some common sense being applied (4, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851688)

cheaper or not, taxpayers don't need to be paying for a DMV clerk's cell phone. There are a few that it makes sense for, people in upper management positions, emergency response chain members, or project leaders that need to be reached off-hours and on-site, etc, but that's a very small percentage of the crowd.

Re:finally some common sense being applied (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851810)

Does the DMV clerk have a deskphone with an outside line?

Probably could save more money cutting down on those. I bet far more could be saved if they looked into the sweetheart deals vendors are getting. All cities seem to love those.

Re:finally some common sense being applied (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34852126)

You, sir must be stuck in an age where clerks were locked in damp cells in the basements and had to rattle the bars in order to get the attention of their supervisor so they could go to the end of the hall and use the phone - which was quite large, made of Bakelite, and made a real RIIIIIIIIIING noise whenever any one wanted to talk to you. Your post reeks of yearning back to those days since cost isn't even a factor in your equation. ONLY upper management, emergency response team or other highly respected members of society need stuff like cells, because they are status symbols, dammit.

Insightful? Sheesh. Cell phones stopped being status symbols and became a pest ages ago.

Re:finally some common sense being applied (4, Insightful)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852186)

TFS describes the number as 40% of employees, and only half of *those* were active. So I doubt every DMV employee had one, although it's reasonable and prudent for a DMV road tester to have one, and any other mobile worker for that matter. "Oh, your plow slid off the highway? So sorry, you're on your own. We can't afford $1000/yr on top of your pittance of a salary."

Personally, I never liked the idea of having a cell phone provided by my employer anyway. It's nothing more than a privacy-depriving leash, and I don't really like the idea of being tethered to my office. That's why I only give out my home number and never answer my cell if I don't recognize the number (and often even when I do). If it's in my contract to be available outside of normal working hours then that's one thing, but if it's not, then I have no interest in having my personal life interrupted by work. If I was a state worker that didn't need a cell phone, I'd be overjoyed by the opportunity to return it. Internally, anyway. Externally I'd pretend I was outraged by having yet another tool removed to perform my woefully difficult job.

Re:I'm not sold on this. (1)

pz (113803) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851806)

My day job got me a cell phone. It is cheaper than the landline I used to have, and it's much more useful, as it also lets me keep up on email and meetings.

Cheaper than your retail landline at home, sure. But cheaper than the landline you had at your office which was probably at bulk commercial rates? Really?

I think the deeper answer is that the State of California no longer wants to subsidise the personal calls of its employees after hours.

He is not taking privately held phones (5, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851836)

He is taking government paid for phones. More than likely they already have land lines in all offices anyway, used for everything from calls to faxes to internet in some cases.

He is just trying to put some sense back into what the government is funding, and a cell phone is a luxury in many departments. It certainly is not a requirement of someone who rarely if ever leaves their office. He is going after vehicles next which is another good step. He should also go after traveling expenses and the like, nuke any employee conventions, and similar until they get their finances in order. The hard area where he will have to play in is compensation and retirement benefits that state employees have in California. That is where the real abuse is.

Should be interesting, a hero of the left can probably do things Arnie could not. I bet if Arnie did this there would screams in every California paper out there about how mean he was, if not racist.

When you can't pay your bills you have to make cuts. Every penny counts. This is why Congress is such a mess, they seem to think its okay to ignore "this cost" and "that cost" because they are so small. Well, get enough small expenses out and it will add up.

Re:I'm not sold on this. (2)

msauve (701917) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851902)

It may be cheaper than a residential landline, but it's not cheaper than an extension off a PBX. I would bet the vast majority of CA state workers (much more than 60%) are in desk/office jobs, so a desk phone is cheaper than a cell phone. Many of those who are on the road, (police/fire) have other means to communicate, provided it's legitimate business (e.g. radio).

So what about... (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851552)

What about those people who aren't required to be in touch 24 hours a day, but perhaps the 8 working hours they do each day, are they going to have to use their personal cell phone? Are you going to cover those minutes? Would it be cheaper? The phones are already paid for if they were in use by the employees. You couldn't have just put in an order to NOT get new cell phones?

And working in IT, I know the costs of support from your IT team will go up if you want them to support a smorgasborg of client phones, each with their own OS and needing to sync their contacts with their email addresses, being able to have the support they would have had on a standard company phone. Standardization is so unbelievably helpful, you have no idea.

I get it if you want to cut back people's work phone plans, and you want to stem the problem from inflating, but simply taking the phones back has got to be one of the silliest things I've heard of.

Re:So what about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34851636)

I've seen lately that the "trend" is indeed to make employees use their own phone. This seems to be happening (slowly) in many sectors. I attend some regular conferences with 30 - 50 large companies and more and more of them are cancelling phone plans and having employees provide their own phones. It certainly isn't ALL companies by any stretch, but it has grown from where it was a few years ago.

Re:So what about... (1)

anyGould (1295481) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852074)

I've seen lately that the "trend" is indeed to make employees use their own phone. This seems to be happening (slowly) in many sectors. I attend some regular conferences with 30 - 50 large companies and more and more of them are cancelling phone plans and having employees provide their own phones. It certainly isn't ALL companies by any stretch, but it has grown from where it was a few years ago.

And that's where I'd have a problem with it - if my position isn't important enough to warrant a cell phone, then it's not important enough that you need me to be available 24/7.

You're right - a lot of companies are taking HR's "contact info" and using it for on call purposes.

Besides, $20M sounds like a lot, but Brown's going to need a lot of those to balance the budget. Might be time to cut back rep salaries.

Re:So what about... (1)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852188)

On the flip side, you are not required to pick up your personal phone whenever it rings.

Re:So what about... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34851638)

About as silly as not paying teachers, and cutting back on schools - cheating our kids out of a good education. Take all the phones back!

Re:So what about... (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852002)

Well lets see, reportedly 48000 phones are being canceled, depending on if the government got a good deal or not that would be anywhere from $20-70 per phone per month. I'll be generous and assume it's on the high end of $70 per line. That means this measure has the potential to save the state $336k per month or $4 million per year. In other words, it is .02% of California's projected deficit or .004% of California's annual budget. While it's true that you have to cut the small expenses in addition to the big ones to lower spending, this is less than a drop in the bucket.

Re:So what about... (4, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851702)

Private phones are not allowed on the system. No need for "support" on private equipment. In fact, if you touch someone's personal devices you own it forever.

I work in IT, it is simple as saying "we cannot support personal devices at work". And it requires it to be Policy. At my job, I have a personal cell phone that I get a stipend for, it is my device, I own it, I use it for work and personal. Google Voice to the rescue. I turn on DND at 5:00 PM, and off at 7:30am .Those are the hours you can contact me .. guaranteed. Anything above that requires OT and an account code to pay for it (I'm not salaried), and planning.

I'm on stipend because I don't have a regular office phone, and am fairly mobile. I'm all for cutting the perks. Just because you're "Government" doesn't mean you have rights to stuff normal people have to pay for.

Re:So what about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34852110)

Check it out, this guy thinks he owns his phone.

Bahahahahahahahahaha!

Re:So what about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34851824)

Those people who need to be in touch *outside* the office get phones. Those who don't, don't. Pretty simple. If they need to be able to contact you in a rare emergency situation, they'll call you on your home line (just like they would have before cell phones), or your personal cell phone number. What concept!

Re:So what about... (1)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851846)

are they going to have to use their personal cell phone? Are you going to cover those minutes?

He doesn't need to - it's a tax write off.

Re:So what about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34851950)

are they going to have to use their personal cell phone

One would think, yes.

Are you going to cover those minutes...?

Lets hope not. Kind of defeats the purpose.

The perks are drying up. We still have some industry and pollution left to export to China. These little tax revenue supported nice-to-haves are going with it. When the rest of the planet puts the squeeze on US bond sales federal employees will be in the same boat. Enjoy that clean air.

Re:So what about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34852010)

TFA is light on details, but I wonder how many of the phones were issued to employees who occasionally take a few calls after hours. It just might be cheaper to give a small stipend to those talk (business) just a few hundred minutes a month, so they can put it toward an upgraded plan.

I am Governor Jerry Brown (3, Informative)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851562)

hang on, I know Arnie's left office but surely I haven't slipped back in some timewarp to the 70s?

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/deadkennedys/californiauberalles.html [azlyrics.com]

obviously they missed the verse about restricting communications :)

Re:I am Governor Jerry Brown (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34851814)

Re:I am Governor Jerry Brown (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852114)

It was him or Meg Whitman. I'm not liberal at all, but I think the better of those two is now in office. But really, I hate the false dichotomy of (R) vs (D).

What a concept! (2)

TheReaperD (937405) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851566)

Finally budget cuts that start at the top... what a concept!!!!

Re:What a concept! (1)

Alternate Interior (725192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852026)

Didn't expect this from Brown. Good for him.

Re:What a concept! (0)

CasperIV (1013029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852156)

How does this start at the top? This budget cut is only affecting the lowest level employees and with probably only amount to less than 0.03% of the deficit they are facing. The reality is also that in removing the cell phones NEW and potentially HIGHER costs maybe incurred. Did anyone stop to ask WHY the phones were there? Did they make sure all these officials had landlines still? The average cellphone for an individual is $70 give or take. For the government it would be a fraction of that on a big contract, so maybe $45-$50 assuming high. Now, a central phone system for an agency is general upwards of $100,000 or more, plus maintenance, service, and routine upgrades. Chances are very good that it was actually CHEAPER to have cell phones for the staff routed to from a smaller communications system than it is to go back to full landline use.

I don't even live in California and think this is idiotic without review. This is a knee jerk reaction that will most likely cost more in the end than it saved.

Cool - a fiscal conservative (2)

ron_ivi (607351) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851570)

Is this guy some sort of libertarian or pre-reagan-republican or something?

Re:Cool - a fiscal conservative (2)

Reziac (43301) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851674)

Except meanwhile, nothing is being said about Calif's runaway pension obligations, which amount to billions of unfunded debt. And don't expect Brown to be the one to do anything about it... some of us still remember half-built freeways and other financial boondoggles.

Penny wise and pound foolish, that would be CA's financial politics in a nutshell.

Re:Cool - a fiscal conservative (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851858)

Well pensions are generally set in stone, so you will need to raise some cash to pay for them. What you can look to do is not end up in that position again.

Re:Cool - a fiscal conservative (3, Informative)

sneakyimp (1161443) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851690)

Actually he's a pre- and post-reagan *democrat* who was famous for balancing the budget back in the 70s by refusing to cut taxes.

Re:Cool - a fiscal conservative (5, Insightful)

digsbo (1292334) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851794)

He's not a mainstream Democrat by any stretch. He's widely known for promoting zero-growth policies, which I doubt most modern Democrats would support. He was at one time something of an environmental extremist.

Above all, he seems to be, whether you like him or not, a very principled guy, who has had trouble in mainstream politics due to being honest and uncompromising. Kind of a Ron Paul of the left. I don't like him, but I believe he is at least a sincere person with some degree of integrity.

Re:Cool - a fiscal conservative (3, Interesting)

gknoy (899301) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851862)

Listening to him debate Meg Whitman, I was relieved that I felt both candidates would take the job seriously. I didn't think either would do a poor job, though there were some platform stances that I liked less from Jerry Brown. It was refreshing to feel that both candidates would be both driven and competent.

Re:Cool - a fiscal conservative (2)

shelterpaw (959576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852068)

Seriously... He's had trouble in mainstream politics due to being honest? You must have not seen this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIlzYD4tk78 [youtube.com]

Re:Cool - a fiscal conservative (1)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851712)

Something. I remember him in the '92 democratic primaries. His big thing was pitching a 13% across the board flat income tax (in place of existing income tax).

Re:Cool - a fiscal conservative (0)

magarity (164372) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851816)

Is this guy some sort of libertarian or pre-reagan-republican or something?

No, he's a Democrat. That's why he's fixing the $27B budget deficit by cutting $20M worth of cell phone bills. A libertarian would have the state declare bankruptcy and nullify the state employee union's contract and pensions. That would fix the budget problem in one fell swoop and probably get him assassinated by the next morning.

Re:Cool - a fiscal conservative (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34852000)

If he keeps up the pace in less than 3 years things will be sorted out. Seriously, complaining because Brown actually did something (just not enough IYO) doesn't contribute much now does it? Would you rather he not bother with the ~0.1% cut at all? Do you not pick the low hanging fruit while someone else is setting up the ladder rather than sit and watch?

Re:Cool - a fiscal conservative (1)

Elder Entropist (788485) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852092)

Real libertarians believe in voiding business contracts? I suppose we could solve a lot of the federal deficit by voiding all 401Ks and collecting the money for the deficit instead. No moral or legal problems with that, are there?

Libertarian Nirvana? (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852094)

A libertarian would have the state declare bankruptcy
Ok, declare bankruptcy. Now what? State bond rates *skyrocket* It turns out that would be the first of maybe 25-35 dominos where States would have no choice but to declare bankruptcy.

And then there's all those pesky retirees that hold State bonds because of their perceived security that you've just made near penniless. How do you think that's going to play out?

and nullify the state employee union's contract and pensions.
Ok, done. Now what? How does the daily uninteresting work of running government get done? Who are you going to hire? Probably the people you just fired because they're the only ones that know anything. Now what? They reorganize. Ohh, but there's the false promise of contracting the work out. Ask some of the regular slashdotters in the Military Industrial Complex how well that works. Hint: it doesn't shhh!

I know, I know, I don't 'understand.' Or, it doesn't have to work that way. Well, it does work that way. Libertarian ideals are being sold as a solution to every government problem when in fact, they accelerate the rate of corruption.

Re:Cool - a fiscal conservative (0, Troll)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852100)

Yeah, libertarians are big on making their problems someone else's. I think that is that "personal responsibility" thing they are always going on about.

Letting old folks starve, who you promised a retirement to after decades of labor also sounds like something those folks would go for.

Those libertarians sure are stand up guys.

Re:Cool - a fiscal conservative (4, Insightful)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851866)

He bills and is listed as a democrat, but in the real world hardcore left or hardcore right is not going to get any job done. Unless that job is gridlock. I don't think for a second that Meg Whiteman (I spelled it that way for a reason, smartasses) would be able to cut the budget as well as this state's budget needs it. The way she pissed away $140+ million dollars speaks volumes for her wasteful lifestyle and lack of experience. I'm glad to have voted for Obama and for Governor "Moonbeam." THIS is exactly the type of thinking we need to keep California within its budget and an example the red states need to stop the useless political bickering and get the FUCKING JOB DONE.

More budget cuts and more openleaks/wikileaks! Obama did fail in making our government transparent. The "leakers" have fixed this. Brown also is slashing the salaries of many state agencies. More of the same is needed, and this is a step in the right direction. Stop the waste and fraud committed by both sides of the equation.

Good start (1)

DigiTechGuy (1747636) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851588)

Good call. There a lot of other expenses that can be cut as well, but this is one piece of the puzzle. I hate it when there's always "bigger fish to fry". That's called ignoring problems. As with many things in life there's no magic bullet to cure the problem, but this is a good start. It's worse to keep looking for that silver bullet and stagnate while the problem stays the same or gets worse.

The unfortunate thing is those who need cell phones to effectively do their job will likely have theirs taken away. Welcome to the yuppie culture where a cell phone is a status symbol and not a tool.

Re:Good start (2)

peteinok (1825618) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851644)

Agreed. This is called "low hanging fruit". I'm sure that the ones who need a cell phone can justify it and therefore get one assigned to them. The rest....waste, fraud, and abuse is never cool.

Re:Good start (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34851686)

Those who really need a cell phone can pay for it themselves, like the rest of us. Their salary is already paid by the people, so there's no reason for anything extra to be put on top.

Better check the contracts (4, Funny)

slapout (93640) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851616)

Early termination fees may be more than $20 million....

Re:Better check the contracts (1)

gknoy (899301) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851878)

A company that wants to have continued business from a large customer like that would probably be willing to waive the fee, rather than see them hop ship to a competitor.

Re:Better check the contracts (1)

DCFusor (1763438) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851918)

It's OK, they are a State and can simply pay them with un-secured IOU's and then default on them. For once, someone sticking it to a carrier who can make it stick!

Re:Better check the contracts (1)

shelterpaw (959576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851942)

Better RTFA

"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.

Read more: http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2011/01/brown-orders-48000-state-cell.html#ixzz1AqiqNlBM [sacbee.com]

Some state workers are on the road all the time (0)

HaeMaker (221642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851620)

What about them? Should they be forced to go back to the office to make and receive calls? What about the extra mileage? What if the office doesn't have a landline (some don't!) It's not like they can find a pay phone somewhere.

Re:Some state workers are on the road all the time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34851746)

The people that are required to be on the road or on-call will keep their phones. This is taking phones away from people that managed to justify a phone because they *might* need to be contacted. Do the Accounting and HR staff need cell phones?

Re:Some state workers are on the road all the time (3, Informative)

wickerprints (1094741) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851774)

He's not getting rid of phones for ALL state employees. Just the ones that clearly don't need them. It's funny how this is being criticized...everyone has a personal phone. If it's REALLY important, they can still stay in touch. It's also false to bring out the claim that landlines are more expensive, because if you are a state employee with a desk and you sit behind it most of the time, you already have a landline, and it's not going away.

You know, as hard as it may be to believe this, there REALLY was a time when mobile phones did not exist. And the government did not collapse for want of them. There really was a time when people weren't able to get in touch with each other 24/7. Society did not collapse for lack of Twitter, Facebook, SMS, and email everywhere you go. And it's not like taking state-owned mobile phones away is going to kill these employees or put undue burden on them. They still have their personal phones they can use if it's necessary to do so.

Re:Some state workers are on the road all the time (1)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851954)

Why? What the hell are they doing out there? List out the state workers "on a road trip" all the time? I can think of CalTrans, but they have a radio network to use, with the ability to call through it, if need be. I can't think of one state agency that needs to have cells phones. NOT ONE. Stop the wasteful thinking. Make a note, then make a call when they get home, or to the office. Perhaps if they made more calls from the office they could cut down on the unnecessary travel too, or pay for the cell phones with their own money, then get reimbursed for the calls each month that are business/state related. No way they all need cells phones.

cellphones are a new scourge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34852138)

How did people do their jobs before cellphones? Bring back pagers and walkie-talkies!

Re:cellphones are a new scourge (1)

1729 (581437) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852192)

How did people do their job before pagers and walkie-talkies? Bring back telegraphs and smoke-signals!

Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34851624)

God save the Bees!

Paying for a cell phone (1)

Swe3tDave (246955) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851628)

And now i have to pay to have a cell phone? I think i'm going to make a few long distance call while i still can.

What's this got to do with "rights on line"? (2)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851632)

And why not require "executives" to provide themselves with phones at their own expense? They'll have them anyway.

Re:What's this got to do with "rights on line"? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851880)

Because the business uses them. Paying them a stipend for that might be ok though.

If my employer wants to use my things he had better pay for them.

Confiscates? (5, Insightful)

Evro (18923) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851634)

He runs the State of California, which owns (or is paying for) the phones. Sounds like he's saying "I want my phones back." Confiscating makes it sound like he's taking people's own property away from them.

Re:Confiscates? (0)

Ben4jammin (1233084) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851716)

Agreed.
That is how it is probably perceived by many, and I think may be the point of what he is doing. Namely, let's think about how we are spending other people's money. Let's think about how we could do things cheaper than we are today. If there is a budget surplus that's one thing...when you are DEEP in the hole, every little bit of savings helps. You gotta start somewhere, might as well be here I guess.

Re:Confiscates? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851978)

More precisely: "I want people to turn in State of California property." He also noted a key exception: Those that are required to be in 24/7 contact (First Responders) may actually require cell phones.

Don't need to confiscate. (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851646)

Just cancel the plan. Let them keep the phone if they want to start their own plan. The phone is already paid for and it's not like they are going to get much re-selling the phone. In addition, for everyone that keeps the phone, the state gets the benefit without paying for it. Besides, a company issued phone is pretty standard for anyone that might have to come in on the weekend. Pretty much every IT job, every management job. every lawyer, every doctor need a phone. I bet the state of California has lot of management, law, and IT jobs that need the phone.

also lots people in the field as well. (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851910)

also lots people in the field as well.

Re:Don't need to confiscate. (1)

k6mfw (1182893) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851974)

That might be a good idea unless the cellphone has engraved, "State of California Property" (with set of numbers), it will have to be disposed through proper channels like all govmint equipment. But there may be some cellphones that will survive and be found on ebay i.e. older Motrac or Mocom70 control heads that say, "California Highway Patrol KA4993" (yep I have one, real cool looking too but I haven't put it to use, the trunkmount is a bit big and heavy).

Come to think of it there are a lot of state LEOs that carry cellphones so they can discuss matters not suitable for regular 2-way radio, and I think they use it a lot. Concept of reducing state cellphones may sound good but need to determine those that absolutely need them vs. true savings in overall budget.

FYI, Jerry Brown is the first politician in many years experienced with state govt and politics. His predecessor and all members of the legislative branch were all beginners.

Re:Don't need to confiscate. (2)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852016)

Pretty much every IT job, every management job. every lawyer, every doctor need a phone.

Then tell them that carrying a phone (their own) is a condition of employment (you know they've got one anyway). Give them a small allowance to cover the added expense if necessary.

Brown's Army (2)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851660)

Close your eyes, can't happen here
Big Bro' on white horse is near
The hippies won't come back you say
Mellow out or you will pay
Mellow out or you will pay!

Stipend (3, Insightful)

_16s (1963724) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851692)

Some states use stipends. They don't provide cell phones to state employees, they say, "Look, here's 40 bucks a month. Use this to pay for work related calls on your personal cell phone." It's much cheaper and everyone is happy.

My last cell phone (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34851718)

The last time I had a cell phone was when I worked as the Unix admin for a 911 call center. It had all the GIS ani/ali GIS remote scada + traffic light control, + radio bells and whistles. They paid for the cell (and pager) and when I was on call I had to carry it 24/7. I did not use it for personal calls, except when I was on vacation, and then I would reimburse them for any calls I made. Cell phones are more convenient than pay phones (and surprisingly, less expensive than pay phones which have gone up a lot), but I genuinely try to avoid using them if I can (remember, I'm building a linux kernel on the other monitor as I type this), because cell phones are damned expensive. I might know craploads about technology (before studying computer science in university, I went to college for two years studying electronics engineering --it was only a 2 year course), but I'm also cheap. Cell phones are a lot more expensive than a corded home phone. Likewise, wireless television is a lot less expensive than corded television (and the content is about as good, and with digital, the picture is actually better than cable or satellite... hey you scoffers, read that again and listen up: the over the air picture quality of digital TV is better than what the 1960's technology of cable and satellite can provide, and it all has to do with compression and bandwidth). Cell phones are an excellent way to cut costs. My kernel build: 2.6.37-git8 is done. Keep in mind what I said about cell phones, and about TV. Some of you are likely paying way too much.

Re:My last cell phone (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851914)

Where are you getting a local phone less than the cost of a prepay cell phone?

Re:My last cell phone (1)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852058)

time warner cable $99 triple play bundle includes unlimited local and long distance calling

you don't much sports on OTA TV you need pay tv fo (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851964)

you don't much sports on OTA TV you need pay tv for that.

1960's?

CSN HD looks real good and that not on free tv.

Riiiight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34851758)

So you have a $60-80k a year employee, but its we wont pay $30 a month to be able to reach them if we need some information or a decision made?

But in the town I live in, we paid $400k for new boutique street signs, $180k on a roadside "beautification project" that didnt beautify anything, we're going in for $1.2M on a new park that nobody will use (there are 12 other parks within a mile or two, and most of those are unused), and a $20M highway expansion to add a car pool lane that nobody will be driving in during rush hour, while the remaining lanes will be jammed full.

In short, we're worrying about mouse droppings when theres elephant crap all over the place.

Re:Riiiight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34851892)

I've seen stuff like that myself. Austin blowing 40-odd mil so they can get a bike path from a river to a park nobody has heard of, much less uses.

Guess it ain't easy being "green".

Re:Riiiight... (2)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852006)

And yet I can't help but think you're one of those who wants to cut the Department of Education and keep the DoD intact...

Fees (1)

mitchplanck (1233258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851764)

So who pays the early termination fees?

Re:Fees (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34851984)

What makes you assume the government would even pay early termination fees? Early termination fees are for us mere mortals who don't have an army of lawyers and negotiators to hash out and refine the terms of the contract.

If you wanted to re-negotiate your contract, most service providers will be happy to tell you to either sign the paper or fuck-off.

A corporation (or government) with a 50 million dollar contract will have annoying things like early termination fees removed from the contract before it is signed.

Thought a good idea til the $20 mil figure. (2)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34851960)

Such a tiny amount to close a multibillion dollar budget number. If even 25% of those employees use the phones effectively, then it will increase costs or lower quality of service.

There are probably $5 million to $10 million of real savings there- the rest will have a cell phone again in a year because it turns out the job requires one.

It's a good start-- but i hope they find some real meat.

Re:Thought a good idea til the $20 mil figure. (4, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852166)

The problem with "real meat" in most budgets is that it means cutting service. Someone is going to have to do without something in order to put all the ducks back in a row and that someone is probably going to bitch and moan about it.

For Jerry to do what he needs to do to really turn things around he'll never have a snowballs chance in hell for re-election to the post. Reform looks good on paper but in action it's an ugly thing.

PLEASE -- take it ! (2)

redelm (54142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852056)

I'm not a State of Calif employee, but I would _LOVE_ it for my megacorp employer to take my issued cell phone away. Then I wouldn't have to handle out-of-hours calls! For free (I'm exempt staff). I'd just get a pers cellphone for ~$15/mo.

All this instant connectivity is a race to the bottom. Employer funded competition between employees. Expectations get raised but must inevitably disappoint. There are only a few things that really benefit from instant reactivity, and you already know them.

#irc.trollt1alk.com (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34852066)

the ab0ve is far It's best to try of aal legitimate 'YES' TO ANY over to yet another lubrication. You
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