Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Tribe In The News: Mohegan Government Cuts

Feather News


This installment of The Tribe In The Media series is an article in today's The Day newspaper regarding a press release issued yesterday by the Mohegan Tribal government. Two reader's comments on The Day website regarding the article have also been posted below:

50 take Mohegan buyout offer
By Brian Hallenbeck
The Day newspaper
January 31, 2009

Mohegan - In a promised downsizing of its tribal government, the Mohegan Tribe announced Friday it has completed a “voluntary staff reduction” affecting about 50 employees.
The workers accepted a severance package offering two weeks' pay for each year of service as well as a continuation of health benefits for 90 days, Phil Cahill, the tribe's chief operating officer, said in a statement. The reductions are effective Feb. 27.

The buyout offer was outlined Jan. 11 during a tribal membership meeting at which tribal officials and Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority executives unveiled cost-cutting initiatives.

”A number of employees signed up (for the severance offer), and as we got closer to today's deadline we found there were some other positions we needed to eliminate,” Cahill said in a phone interview. “We talked to those people, and when we got done, it was all voluntary.”

Tribal-government operations are largely funded by revenue from Mohegan Sun, the tribe-owned casino whose business has declined amid the recession. Cost reductions affecting employees at Mohegan Sun and the tribe-owned Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., were announced earlier.

Other moves affecting tribal government employees include a rollback of wages to Sept. 30, 2008, levels, suspension of 401(k) and pension contributions and the elimination of salary bonuses. No new employees will be hired, and spending on all non-essential daily operations has been cut. In addition, the Tribal Council announced an 8 percent rollback in compensation for its nine members.

The downsizing affected about 10 percent of the tribal-government work force, according to Cahill. The tribal government, which comprises such units as the Gaming Commission and police, fire, education and housing departments, now numbers about 400.

R E A D E R'S C O M M E N T S

Posted - 1/31/2009 10:16:20 AM
Make no mistake about it, there was nothing VOLUNTARY about it. Employees were put in a horrible position. I know a lot of cuts have been made but there are still so many places to "cut the fat." How about stopping the catered lunches provided daily at the government building (costing hundreds of dollars a day). Is there something so terrible about taking a shuttle down to the employee cafeteria at the casino for lunch or...imagine this...people actually bringing their lunches from home?!?! Sad times for all the dedicated employees who will now be collecting unemployment while remaining employees continue to binge on their catered lunches.

Soon-to-be former employee
Norwich, CT
1/31/2009 12:30:28 PM


Posted - 1/31/2009 7:42:41 AM
It's a lot of "Crowing". Can you say; caw, caw, caw? - The government swelled out of control under a heavy borrowing plan with no exit plan. Now the lower paid people are being let go. As for "voluntary"; I don't think so, not when you have been told that if you aren't Tribal, then you will be let go. The people who took the voluntary plan did so under duress. As for the 8% councilor cut in pay, they only did that after they told the membership they were going to take about 2.5% cut but employees will take a minimum of 4% and Councilors then recieved tremendous backlash. In their arrogance, they forgot they were elected. It's a sequel to the The Wall Street Men who took their bonuses after getting bailout funds.

Chewed Hummingbird
Crow Hill, Mohegan
1/31/2009 8:19:00 AM