DECC employee layoffs due to rising financial costs of maintenance
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The DECC employs over 400 part-time/seasonal employees, and 50 full-time staff members. On Wednesday night, WDIO confirmed several layoffs. Four people were let go, some others resigned and other positions were vacant and obsolete.
Some eliminated positions include the director of operations and event curator. The DECC retained a consultant to review its operations and offer recommendations later this month.
Dan Hartman, the DECC Executive Director said the reason for the DECC employee layoffs are due to maintenance costs of the building. The costs to keep the building running are overwhelming, which prompted employee resignations and layoffs.
Dan Hartman said within the last two years that several repair projects have taken place.
“I’ve only been here two years. I can’t believe the number of things that we’ve had to replace,” Hartman said. “The bigger surprise for us this year was the facility cost. We had a light computer process that we had to fix. Well, that was 15 grand and it’s just part of an aging facility and that’s why I’m going for a bonding bill now.”
The DECC employee layoffs will not impact fans, guests and clients’ experiences at the DECC, according to Hartman.
The DECC recently acquired a million dollar loan of credit from the City of Duluth to offset expenses, however, there are still several repair projects planned for the future.
Arik Forsman, the Duluth City Councilor-at-large, said it’s up to the DECC to determine how and when to use the credit, but there will be interest.
“I wish the board luck,” Forsman said. “It’s their fiduciary responsibility to make sure the organization is running sustainably and the city can play a role in making sure that when there’s a crisis, we are there to help, but it’s not our role to step in and micromanage or dictate.”
Tony Hart, the former event programmer at the DECC said there was an email that went out last week about payroll cuts.
“The executive director made it clear to a majority of the staff that the DECC was having financial problems,” Hart said. “It was known for some time within the building and that was really kind of the first time that it was maybe laid out that some jobs could be on the line.”
“I wish everybody there the best as they try to fix the problems,” Hart said. “I feel bad for some of the people that have to pick up the pieces and genuinely care about the DECC in its future.”