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Times-Shamrock managers taking pay cut

Letter to employees explains salary reductions, suspension of 1 percent 401k match.

Company managers and CEOs at Times-Shamrock have accepted salary reductions, according to a letter sent to employees.

Times-Shamrock is the publisher of local newspapers including The Citizens’ Voice in Wilkes-Barre, The Times-Tribune of Scranton and the Standard-Speaker of Hazleton.

The salary cuts are in addition to buyouts the company has offered to employees at four of its newspapers.

According to the letter dated Feb. 27, 2009, on Times-Tribune stationery, the executives have accepted salary reductions of 3 percent to 10 percent, depending on salary level.

A former Times-Shamrock employee provided a copy of the Feb. 27 letter on the condition of anonymity.

The company also suspended the 1 percent company 401k match for 2009. The usual annual 2.5 percent annual contribution remains unchanged, according to the letter.

“We hope these measures, combined with the necessary number of employees taking our buyout offer, will help avoid layoffs as a means to achieve our financial targets,” the letter states. “If they are not sufficient, though, some layoffs will be unavoidable – but will not include the attractive financial incentives provided by the buyout.”

The letter to Times-Tribune employees is signed by the five publishers of the company: William R. Lynett, W. Scott Lynett, George V. Lynett Jr., Robert J. Lynett and Matthew E. Haggerty.

The letter states that the company has “resisted both layoffs and wage/benefits cuts” as it waited for the economy to turn around.

“We simply can no longer hold on to an oversized workforce,” the letter reads. “Rather, we need to immediately eliminate some FTEs (full-time employees) or their equivalent.”

Times-Shamrock has offered buyouts to employees of The Citizens’ Voice, The Times-Tribune, Pottsville Republican and Herald and The Shamokin News Item. Scott Lynett on Monday confirmed the offers were made, calling the buyout “a generous package to those who voluntarily wish to separate from the company.” He said employees must have at least five years with the company to be eligible and they have 45 days to accept or decline the offer.

Lynett did not return messages left on his cell phone Tuesday.

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