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GUSA Cuts Quarter Of Its HQ Staff

By Mark Hrywna - October 1, 2013

The ongoing reorganization of Girl Scouts of the USA (GUSA) has carved more than a quarter of the 325 employees from the national headquarters in Midtown Manhattan.

The staff was slashed by 87 in recent weeks. GUSA offered a voluntary resignation package to employees this past summer. It’s unclear how many of the 87 employees accepted or were eligible for the incentive package because GUSA declined to discuss it, “given they involve personnel issues.”

A person familiar with GUSA, who asked to not be identified, estimated that approximately 45 of the eliminated staff accepted the voluntary package while the other 47 positions were involuntary staff reductions across the organization. As many as 90 employees were eligible for the incentive, which a GUSA official previously described as a fairly standard separation package. Eligible were employees age 55 and older with at least 10 years of service at the headquarters.

The national headquarters reported total revenue of $105 million for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2012, with expenses of $99 million (about $41 million related to salaries and benefits) and net assets of $125 million. The latest reductions were aimed at cutting expenses and reorganizing in time for the new fiscal year, set to begin Oct. 1.

The organization only offered a statement via email regarding the restructuring process:

“Like many nonprofits around the country, Girl Scouts of the USA has been facing challenges due to membership declines and economic realities. Girl Scouts has been in the midst of a major, multiyear transformation effort that will make our 100-year-old organization more agile and better able to serve our 3.2 million girls and volunteers.

“As part of this effort, we announced in June the offer of voluntary resignations to eligible staff members and the intent to make staff cuts in August, which we have now done. These actions, together with other changes we have been making, will help Girl Scouts more effectively deliver on our mission and serve more girls and volunteers.

“We recognized that change is hard and thank all of those who have and continue to offer their service to Girl Scouts. We remain committed to our proud legacy of helping girls from all backgrounds unlock their leadership potential and make our world a better place. Our focus is on ensuring we continue to do that in the best possible way for the next 100 years.”

Founded in 1912, GUSA reported 3.2 million girl and adult members worldwide last year.

GUSA is not the only nonprofit to offer incentives for staff to voluntarily leave the organization. Earlier this year, as part of a massive restructuring of American Cancer Society, 342 employees accepted buyout offers, representing some 5 percent of the workforce. The Atlanta, Ga.-headquartered charity offered employees with at least three years of service $1,000 for each year with the organization. About 4,300 employees of its 6,000 employees were eligible based on service requirements and other provisions.

Just last month NPR announced a voluntary program to help address a persistent $6-million operating deficit. The Washington, D.C.-based media organization aims to reduce staffing levels by 10 percent to achieve a balanced budget by Fiscal Year 2015. It has about 840 full-time and part-time employees.

Most employees who have been continuously employed at NPR for at least three years would be eligible for the buyout. Those who accept and are approved would receive two days pay for each month of service, up to a maximum of 300 days.

The approved Fiscal Year 2014 budget anticipates operating revenue of $178.1 million versus expenses of $183 million, and an operating cash deficit of $6.1 million, or 3 percent of revenues.

NPR’s board also appointed Vice Chairman Paul Haaga as acting president and CEO, effective Sept. 30. Outgoing CEO Gary Knell announced in August that he would be leaving NPR after about 21 months to join National Geographic but will serve as an advisor to Haaga through 2013.

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