Register One Step From Layoffs

To prevent layoffs on the heels of a sharp decline in advertising revenue, Freedom Communications--the parent company of The Orange County Register--today offered voluntary severance packages to employees, according to sources.

"If not enough people opt out, then there will be layoffs," a veteran of the paper told the Weekly.

The package under consideration includes two weeks of pay for every year of service, plus $50 for every $1,000 of base pay and 26 additional weeks of paid health insurance.

Dozens of employees--perhaps as many as 50 or more--need to accept the package to prevent the company from taking more drastic steps. The company delivered the news through department supervisors. There was no companywide meeting.

"People were initially shocked, followed by a feeling of, 'Well, I'm not surprised given the downsizing going on in the industry,'" said a Reg employee.

In July, new Freedom Communications CEO Scott Flanders announced that he was re-organizing the company's newspaper divisions to cut costs.

A company spokeswoman did not return a call for comment at the time of this post.

Ironically, the Irvine-based company is willing to push out (much needed) veteran employees while spending millions of dollars a year to launch journalistically questionable spin-offs such as Squeeze OC and OC Post.

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