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The Signal forced to make cuts

Seven laid off, temporary pay cuts enacted

Posted: February 28, 2009 1:15 a.m.
Updated: February 28, 2009 4:55 a.m.
The Signal newspaper laid off seven employees and temporarily cut pay for the rest Friday on the heels of declining revenue.

"These cuts hurt. We are already a very lean operation," said Signal Publisher Ian Lamont. "But the current economic times are requiring that we reduce operations and employees."

Beginning Monday, salaried employees will take a 6-percent cut in pay and hourly employees will see a 4-percent cut.

"The company is committed to reinstating the temporary pay cuts to all employees, in addition to paying back each employee, as soon as our performance allows," Lamont said.

The newspaper's revenue declined in January; recognizing February was on track for the same, Lamont and his senior managers met over a period of 10 days to formulate a plan to cut operating expenses.

"These cuts were made with the intention that we could operate well at current revenue levels and would not need to make any additional cuts," Lamont said.

Several departments came up with creative ways to cut costs, including voluntarily reducing their hours and eliminating allowances and commissions. These departments saved three jobs.

"Everyone at The Signal has been incredible," Lamont said. "During this process, stand-up department meetings were held so all employees heard exactly what was going on and got all questions answered. I am proud to work with such passionate and committed people."

Of those laid off, five were full-time employees and two were part-timers.

Total cuts were 56 percent in newsprint and other expenses, and 44 percent in compensation. The two biggest costs at any newspaper are paper and people.

The Signal has more than 80 employees.


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