February 17, 2009 By Wayne Hanson
"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." -- Gov. Rell (pictured)
Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell on Sunday announced that in light of the state's budget defecit 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 number of wireless devices used by the state has grown considerably since 1994, said the Governor's Office, 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.
"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 Department of Information Technology, which provides IT and telecommunication services to agencies, has been ordered to expedite processing of cancelation orders and will provide Rell with monthly reports on agency cancellation orders and plan changes.
Last week, Rell also announced that the state is working to renegotiate or rebid $31.5 million in contracts for the Department of Information Technology.
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