The debate over whether or not to allow employees to talk on their cell phones behind the wheel is easier to resolve if you take away their phones.

This isn't exactly related to the push to get drivers to hang up their cell phones behind the wheel, which is what I wrote about in a blog several weeks ago and is one of the stories featured in this month's Snips.

But the story I saw online is about how California Gov. Jerry Brown is getting rid of his state-paid cell phone and requiring many other state employees to do the same. It brings up a different cell phone issue from distracted driving, but one still timely in this economy: whether or not to pay for cell phones for employees.

Many contractors pay for Blackberrys or other smart phones for at least their supervisory workers, and there is no doubt that being able to quickly talk, text or check e-mail from anywhere can make for more efficient employees.

But smart phones like a Blackberry or an iPhone can be pricey with the Interent data plans required to use such phones. Some companies are phasing out high-end phones for less expensive models from prepaid cellular companies or reducing the amount of allowable minutes or texts per month. And some, like California, are getting rid of phones altogether.

The governor's office estimates that it can save $20 million a year by reducing the number of those allowed to have them.

Are you still providing a cell phone for your employees? If so, is it a smart phone or a plain model? Do you allow them to use it for personal calls or do you block texting, the Internet or other features?

Here is a link to the Associated Press story.