Monday, September 26, 2022

Coronavirus: Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation to furlough more than 200 employees, cut expenses

Fanning embers for a cooking fire in Jamestown Settlement’s re-created Powhatan Indian village. (Photo courtesy Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation)

Yet another casualty of the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic: The Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation has decided to furlough its employees as part of its new budget strategy to address coronavirus concerns.

The move was announced during a meeting of the foundation’s Executive Committee Friday.

Frank Stovall, deputy executive director of administration, presented a new financial update and forecast that projected significant loss of revenue for the organization.

The Foundation operates Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.

Despite having better than projected revenues before March, Stovall said, the foundation still faces a loss of $2 million due to the coronavirus. These projections are based on a potential closure of three months, in accordance with the order from Gov. Ralph Northam.

According to data presented, total revenues for the organization were 3 percent lower than this time last year. In March, JFY’s total earned revenues was approximately $5 million, which was about $1 million lower than the previous year.

To make up for this loss, the foundation has approved a budget strategy that involves furloughing 221 part-time employees starting at the end of April, which will help generate about $197,000 in savings. 

Stovall said those employees will be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Stovall added the plans could be altered depending on if the facilities are able to reopen sooner or later than expected.

“There’s some big unknowns moving forward,” he said. “One is what does our general fund for fiscal year 2021 look like and the other is what will consumer confidence in the travel market look like? We’re still working…to narrow down our projects and build a plan that projects the potential impact of next year.”

In addition, the foundation is continuing to participate in the statewide hiring freeze and will continue to leave nine currently vacant full time positions open which will provide about $234,000 in savings. 

Looking at long term solutions to the budget, Christy Coleman, executive director of the organization, has created a strategy that involves a multi-tiered approach that addressed how to provide quality services to guests and, more importantly, how to protect their staff, she said.

The short term solutions involve looking to local government support, the Yorktown Capital Campaign and loans from affiliates, such as the Jamestown-Yorktown Education Trust and the Jamestown-Yorktown Endowment Loan. 

However, her long term approach involves a number of layoffs for staff. According to meeting documents, personnel costs are the largest expenditure, which makes it difficult to adjust the budget without addressing staffing.

The plan states there will be a restructuring that will result in fewer classified employees because there are significant costs associated with laying off public classified employees, including health care and severance. 

A portion of the expenditure can also be offset by eliminating currently vacant positions.

By using this strategy, Coleman said the foundation can save up to $800,000 which will help to offset the majority of savings during the first year of the plan and then use those savings to reimburse loans and restore operational expenditures.

Coleman also said a classified temporary workforce reduction would require employees, including herself, to take between four to 30 days of unpaid leave depending on their salary. The temporary workforce reduction will go into effect on June 1. That will affect 152 full-time staff — who will need to take four to 30 days of unpaid leave through June 30, 2021.

Coleman’s plan also involves a reduction of part-time workers that will provide $900,000 for employees. However, these savings will be offset in the first year by unemployment costs.

In addition to addressing personnel costs, the foundation will also limit other expenditures in the coming year, such as travel, equipment replacement and marketing funds.

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Alexa Doironhttp://wydaily.com
Alexa Doiron is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She graduated from Roanoke College and is currently working on a master’s degree in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys writing stories about local flair. She began her career in journalism at the Warhill High School newspaper and, eight years later, still loves it. After working as a news editor in Blacksburg, Va., Alexa missed Williamsburg and decided to come back home. In her free time, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and playing with her puppy, Poe. Alexa can be reached at alexa@localvoicemedia.com.

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