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Should federal employees lose their mobile phones?

Could the Office of Management and Budget learn a thing or two about IT savings from California Gov. Jerry Brown?

After reading our story about Brown proposing to take cell phones away from many state employees, one reader thinks so.

"I would say that only mission critical or emergency personnel should be equipped with cell phones. He should look at computer software and hardware next. The federal government should take a clue from Jerry here."

But not everyone who commented shared that sentiment. Another unnamed reader called Brown's order "political action for the sake of action without consideration of the consequences."

That commenter drew a parallel to war, in which taking out an enemy's communications is always part of the goal of an attack.

"Here the governor is hoping for a positive result from the same action, only this time he is attacking state employees and their ability to do their jobs," the reader wrote. "Perhaps the governor can do his job without a phone or computer? The state employee[s are] very good at what they do every day but to take away the communication in this day in age is not the proper action to save the state money."

What do you think? Should fewer federal employees carry government-provided mobile phones? Or should more? What about technology updates -- do federal employees need to get their refreshes faster, or could they wait a little longer between hardware and operating system upgrades?

In this era of cost-cutting, there's a good chance that managers are already asking these questions, or will be soon. What do you think?

Posted on Jan 13, 2011 at 12:18 PM


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