Salt Lake City to lay off 31 airport employees

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Salt Lake City leaders announced Thursday a 2 percent reduction of the city government's total workforce. Many of the layoffs are coming from the Salt Lake International Airport, which operates within the city's Department of Airports.

More than strictly about saving money, Mayor Ralph Becker's office said the layoffs are needed to use taxpayers' money more efficiently.

Of the approximately 40 employees being let go, 31 worked at the airport. They were given severance packages, and some were close to retirement. Those laid off were generally responsible for maintaining and operating the airport.

"Most of the work we do is behind the scenes," said Barbara Gann, spokeswoman for the Salt Lake International Airport. "The frontline airport people are most noticed by the public, but you won't notice [the layoffs]. It will be seamless to the public."

This reduction in force leaves the airport with 531 remaining employees.

Gann reiterates that saving money was not the driving factor in making this decision.

"It is a factor, but we're more after the ability to be a lean machine to work forward into the future," she said.

"This was unfortunately a result of looking at some efficiencies that we needed to make to make budgets," said Lisa Harrison Smith, spokeswoman for Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker. "The layoffs are part of a regular process which has been ongoing in the city for years, where we carefully look at how each department is running."

Though most city residents won't notice the layoffs, employees will as they absorb the work load of those let go.

While most know about the layoffs, some won't find out until next week.

The mayor's office will not give exact numbers or job positions of those laid off, because of the people who have not yet been informed. All will be notified by the middle of next week.

Some of those employees are close to retirement, too, and will be offered those benefits.


Story compiled with contributions from Amanda Butterfield, Jasen Lee and Cleaon Wall.

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