Previously Furloughed Employees At The DECC Permanently Laid Off

The DECC now only has about $1 million left in its cash reserve.

DULUTH, Minn. – Roughly 400 previously furloughed employees at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center are now being permanently laid off — some who have only been employed for months and others for decades.

This move comes as big economic blows to the center continue to happen during the ongoing global pandemic.

The organization is now losing about $200,000 a month.

If current trends continue, the deficit is projected to be about $2 million by the spring of 2021.

Back in April, the DECC was forced to furlough just about all of its staff as the pandemic began creating financial strains.

Originally, it employed about 500 full and part-time workers.

Now the cash-strapped operation is down to only around 50 employees after deciding to permanently let go of those previously furloughed workers.

“It’s trying to manage a really difficult financial situation at the DECC. It’s also about being transparent with people who are trying to figure out their lives,” said Interim Executive Director Roger Reinert. “It’s difficult to tell people to hang with us in this temporary, suspended category when really those jobs are gone.”

Most of the jobs being eliminated are part-time positions at the William A. Irvin and Amsoil Arena.

Reinert personally signed off on all of the layoffs, which he says was difficult and was not the legacy he would have chosen coming in as the interim executive director.

He also says he hopes the legacy he does leave behind is the DECC surviving the pandemic.

To date, the DECC has not received any money from outside help.

It has not been able to qualify for payroll protection or cares act funding because it’s an organization supported by the federal government but operated privately.

The DECC now only has about $1 million left in its cash reserve.

Meanwhile, Reinert says he is looking for non-traditional ways of using the convention center’s 800,000 square feet of space, and he’s encouraging people to send him ideas not matter how wild they may seem.  He says all will be considered as long as they are safe and meet state pandemic guidelines.

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