The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

November 21, 2011
Poll: Washington audit finds state paid for unused cellphones

Washington state's auditor says that nearly 6,700 state-issued cellphones that cost the government $1.8 million -- nearly a third of those reviewed -- were used infrequently or not at all during a study that ran from March 2010 through February of this year. Of those, a third weren't used one time during the audit period, reported Washington State Auditor Brian Sonntag, but the state still paid more than $533,000 for them.

The Washington audit, which you can read here, echoes a similar study of California's state cellphones that found about 25 percent of the 54,000 wireless lines tracked in December 2010 weren't used -- but still cost the government more than $300,000.

Those finding supported Gov. Jerry Brown's February order to cut the government's cellphone inventory in half by June 1 of this year.

Departments turned in about 29,000 of 67,000 cellphones covered by Brown's order, with thousands more still under review as of the deadline, the administration said at the time.

Prompted by the Washington audit, we're curious about the impact to California state workers of the state's cellphone slim-down nearly six months later:

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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