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Citing a still-anemic economy and a need to find efficiencies, Salt Lake City is laying off approximately 40 more people, primarily at the international airport.
The job cuts, which will be complete by next week, represent roughly 2 percent of the city's work force. The move comes after 75 positions were eliminated July 1 as part of Mayor Ralph Becker's fiscal 2011 budget.
"It's an efficiency issue," Becker spokeswoman Lisa Harrison Smith explained Thursday. "We do appreciate the work that they've done. It's not just trimming staff. It's about finding efficiencies and being smarter with our resources."
Individual names and positions will not be released until severance negotiations are complete next week. More than three-fourths of the 40 jobs are at the airport. Smith says about a quarter of those employees facing pink slips are eligible for retirement.
"It's not something that anybody's happy about, especially in this economy," she added. "You never want to lose good people."
Barbara Gann, spokeswoman for Salt Lake City International Airport, says the 31 layoffs run "across the board" among the 562 total employees. "It's the places where we could better apply our resources," Gann said. "It will be seamless to the traveling public."
Gann would neither predict nor rule out future cuts. "The reorganization will continue."
The layoffs include another department in City Hall, though Smith said she could not yet say which one out of sensitivity to employees still being notified. The downsizing follows a series of internal audits and budget reviews.
This past summer, the mayor and City Council were forced to plug a near-$20 million budget hole created largely by sluggish sales tax in order to balance the budget. Besides the employee cuts, the popular YouthCity Artways program was eliminated, park services were trimmed and fees were raised for garbage and storm water.
Asked if more layoffs could be coming, Smith said: "It's an ongoing thing."