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Jewish Journal

Federation Lay-Offs Total 30

by Michael Aushenker

December 6, 2001 | 7:00 pm

The streamlining continues at The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, the city's biggest nonprofit outreach organization. A total of 30 positions were cut; 20 union and 10 nonunion. In the past month, buzz among Federation employees was that anywhere from 30 to 40 positions would be cut from all three local Federation outlets.

The Journal has learned that dismissed employees include Senior Associate Campaign Director Lee Rosenblum; ACCESS Chair A.J. Adelman; Campaign's Danny Nathanson and Mark Friedman; lower-rung employees of the Jewish Community Relations department; as well as personnel in Tel Aviv-Los Angeles Partnership, communications and other departments.

Federation Marketing and Communications Director Craig Prizant said that 30 is the final total on the lay-offs.

A Federation insider observed that, due to union rules, union employees with seniority have the option of taking other union workers' positions. However, the process is based on seniority and not based on whether these employees are right for the job. Union employees get bumped to the lowest positions -- those at the bottom with no seniority lose their jobs.

"It was pretty much across the board; not one specific area they came out of," said Prizant. "It's tied into the reports on the economy. We chose to take an administrative cut versus the money allocations in the agencies. We've chosen to cut ourselves rather than to cut into the most vulnerable communities."

In addition to the economy, Prizant pegs post-Sept. 11 hikes in security, health and insurance costs as deciding lay-off factors.

The job cuts, according to Prizant, will save the local Federation system roughly $3 million.

"We are a family here and we are taking caring of our own," said Prizant, in reference to offering the laid-off employees services from Jewish Vocational Service, Jewish Family Service and other Federation agencies.

Federation Chairman Todd Morgan described The Federation's decision to downsize as "unpalatable in the short term to maintain the vision of the long term."

"It's a tough situation," Prizant added. "People are not totally surprised. You don't have to be a genius to see the economy. When it happens to you, it's very difficult. As John [Fishel, The Federation's president,] said, it's the most difficult thing he's had to go through in his career."

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