Saturday, 2:15 PM
In first wave of cuts, Turnpike to layoff 20 toll collectors
(Globe file photo)
By Noah Bierman, Globe Staff
Layoff notices have been sent to 20 toll collectors at the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority in the first wave of staff reductions as the beleaguered agency tries to reduce its ranks by 100.
"This is the first step," Executive Director Alan LeBovidge said this morning after an authority board meeting in Boston. "We are in negotiations with the unions to [cut 100 positions], but this is the first step."
Plans for the layoffs were first announced in September. The goal is to cut about a quarter of the toll taker workforce over the next 12 to 18 months for a savings of $10 million. Ultimately, the authority plans to reduce the total number of toll takers from 440 to 150, as it tries to mitigate its large financial debt, which it estimates to be between $70 million and $100 million this fiscal year.
This first round of layoffs was on a voluntary basis, LeBovidge said. The 20 toll collectors had base salaries of roughly $53,000. Including benefits, each layoff will save the Turnpike $65,000 to $70,000 for a total of $1.4 million.