Gov. Jerry Brown has directed California state agencies to collect nearly 48,000 government-paid cell phones — half of the 96,000 cell phones the state pay for — by June 1. Brown estimated that the move will save $20 million annually.

“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,” the governor said in a statement.

Brown’s estimated savings assumes an average cell phone bill of more than $36 a month, an average determined by the Department of Finance, according to government records.

In addition to the cell-phone reductions, Brown believes the state can further reduce costs throughout the year as some phones’ contracts with cell carriers may expired, but stated that he wants to avoid incurring early termination penalties that exceed the monthly savings.

“Because of contract obligations, it is possible that we may not be able to eliminate all 48,000 cell phones by June 1, but it also is conceivable that we can do it earlier – and that is my hope,” Brown said. “Even with a 50% reduction, one-fifth of all state employees will still have cell phones. That still seems like too much and I want every department and agency to examine and justify all cell phone usage.”

Full text of the governor’s executive order is available here.