Arizona Republic Prepares for Buyouts: More Than 60 Longtime Employees Offered Early Retirement Option

Arizona Republic Prepares for Buyouts: More Than 60 Longtime Employees Offered Early Retirement Option

Earlier this week was the deadline for Arizona Republic employees offered the option to retire early to decide whether they would take the buyout package.

Sources also tell New Times that those who have accepted the buyouts -- and there are several names floating out there -- still have a week to reconsider their decision, and then newspaper managers will decide individual departure.

We'll keep tabs on which staffers the Republic is poised to lose.

The looming buyouts come as the paper's parent-company, Gannett Co., is engaged in an "ongoing strategy to transform the company" by performing a "ground-up assessment" of its structure and resources, according to a confidential company memo.

Sources say that more than 60 employees were offered buyouts at the state's paper of record, and that at least half of them accepted by the March 28 deadline, sources say.

Among those who are running with the offer this time are reportedly employees who turned down the early retirement offer back in 2008 when Gannett Cos. made a similar buyout offer that sent more than two dozen experienced reporters and editors packing.

Jim Hopkins reports on his Gannett Blog (unaffiliated with Gannett) that 70 people would be offered the buyouts, and that newspaper executives were authorized to accept 64 of those spots.

Hopkins got his hands on a confidential memo written by U.S. newspapers President Bob Dickey, which details that the "voluntary Early Retirement Opportunity Program" has been offered employees at least 56 years old with 20 years of service, who work in certain departments.

"The offer provides for salary continuation of two weeks' pay for each complete year of service, capped at 52 weeks, and ongoing health, dental and vision coverage during this period," Dickey wrote.

Employees were given 45 days to mull the offer.

Randy Lovely, Republic's Editor and Vice President for News, was out of the office, and we left a message for Nicole Carroll, the newspaper's executive editor.

And sadly, but not unexpectedly, Dickey ended his memo:

"At this time we are offering this program instead of pursuing other cost management actions but we cannot rule out other actions in the future."

Sigh.


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