PBS Makes More Cuts To Try To Make Budget

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The Public Broadcasting Service Thursday instituted new staff cutbacks, as well as temporary reductions in salaries and benefits.

The moves were aimed at closing a $3.4 million budget deficit in 2010, according to a PBS source, who said the cutbacks were announced at a staff meeting. PBS stations have been hit hard by the financial crisis.

PBS has cut about 10% of its workforce in the past six months via layoffs and unfilled positions, but more staffers got the news Wednesday, though it was not clear how many. PBS now has 453 positions, which means about 45 jobs have been cut in that six-month period.

Starting July 1, which is the beginning of PBS's fiscal 2010, salaries of all non-union workers--essentially all but technicians, said the source--will see a 3.85% reduction in pay for six months. In addition, pay raises have been cancelled.

The cancellations, cuts and temporary cuts apply to all top managers, including president and CEO Paula Kerge and COO Michael Jones.

Starting Jan. 1, PBS will also cut its contribution to retirement benefits from 8% to 6% of salary for a six-month period.

The cuts will get PBS about halfway to that $3.4 million total, according to the source.

The "plan going forward" was for the benefits and salaries to return to current levels after six months, but the employees were also told that PBS would need to manage the financial situation "dynamically."