State Historical Society employees take pay cuts

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Days after finding out that the State Historical Society of Missouri would be losing a quarter of its funding, the employees had a decision to make: take a pay cut or face major layoffs.

“We all felt that it was better for as many of us to keep our jobs as possible,” Lynn Wolf Gentzler, associate director of the society, said. “I think there was concern for each other.”

So rather than lose some of their own, each of the 25 employees volunteered to take a 20 percent pay cut.

“I know of no other state staff that would’ve continued to do their work with the pay cuts,” Lawrence Christensen, former president and a current trustee of the society, said.

The State Historical Society will now only operate four days a week, closing its doors on Fridays and Saturdays. The century-old quarterly Missouri Historical Review and microfilming of newspapers will also no longer receive state funding.

Executive Director Gary R. Kremer knew the cuts were coming, but they were twice as large as he had expected.

“The state is in a very difficult situation right now,” Kremer said.