Sunday, February 15, 2009

Rell directs state agencies to ‘hang up’ on unnecessary cell phone expenses

Governor M. Jodi Rell today announced that she has given all Executive Branch agencies 30 business days to cancel all unnecessary cellular phone and wireless services and ordered a freeze on any new cellular services except in urgent or emergency cases.
The moves are part of Governor Rell’s continuing efforts to reduce state spending in the face of a current-year budget deficit in excess of nearly $922 million and projected shortfalls over the next two budget years of $6 billion.
“Our cell phone bills have grown by leaps and bounds in recent years,” Governor Rell said. “Technology is a wonderful thing – but it comes with a price, and that price is too high for the state to support right now. There is no question that some agency officials and state employees need to be in constant contact with their office. But there are others who do not. And there are too many old accounts that have never been closed or instances where people are carrying both a cell phone and a pager or a cell phone and a BlackBerry – redundancies we simply cannot afford.
“Last fiscal year we spent more than $4.5 million on wireless communications and in the first half of this fiscal year we are on track to spend even more,” the Governor said. “Like any family on a budget, we are going to have to cut back – fewer phones, cheaper calling plans and less airtime. We will not compromise agency missions or put ourselves in jeopardy in the event of a disaster. But taxpayers deserve to know we are not spending their money on pricey cell services they themselves cannot afford.”
The number of wireless devices used by the state has grown considerably since 1994, when there were fewer than 500 cellular phones in state government. Today, there are more than 10,000 cellular devices, including phones, aircards, and BlackBerry devices.
In a memo to all Executive Branch agencies, Governor Rell directed agency chiefs to retain only those services “that are truly essential and critical to your agency’s core mission and ability to deliver services, including the execution of business continuity plans in the event of a loss of facility or other disruption.”
The Department of Information Technology, which provides IT and telecommunication services to agencies, has been ordered to expedite processing of cancelation orders and will provide Governor Rell with monthly reports on agency cancellation orders and plan changes.
Annual state cellular expenditures, according to CORE-CT data:
FY 2005: $3,366,187.06
FY 2006: $2,577,296.56
FY 2007: $3,789,948.75
FY 2008: $4,513,223.54
FY 2009 $2,285,098.92 (First six months)


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home