10 employees laid off at State Historical Society

Monday, January 10, 2011 | 5:13 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — The State Historical Society of Missouri announced Monday that it planned to lay off 10 employees.

While demonstrating the collections available in the society's new online database during a news conference, society Executive Director Gary Kremer said a state budget cuts forced the layoffs. The loss of staff is happening even as the society takes over management of the Western Historical Manuscript Collection.

In November, the University of Missouri System transferred full management responsibility for the manuscript collection to the society. Still, funding for the society has decreased over the past year. There was a 25 percent cut in state funding for the Historical Society during fiscal 2010, which led to previous layoffs, as reported previously by the Missourian. The society also has had to cut back on its hours occasionally.

In addition to laying off 10 staff members, two vacant positions for the society will remain unfilled, according to Kremer.

The society will be closed until Jan. 18 so that its staff can consolidate its materials with those of the Western Historical Manuscripts.

Despite the cuts, society President Stephen Limbaugh Jr. said the organization would be "aggressive in seeking grants."

Kremer said it the society will strive to provide the same quality of service.

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Andrew Hansen January 12, 2011 | 8:43 a.m.

The story could have been improved if we knew how many employees work at the State Historical Society. Without this we have no way to understand the scope of the layoffs for the organization.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith January 12, 2011 | 9:27 a.m.

Agree with Andrew.

It's surprising that in the Twenty-First Century people keep making such errors, and they aren't just made by journalists.

There should always be a "base" figure referenced. Otherwise, comments concerning increases or decreases mean little unless the reader knows or can intelligently estimate the base figure. That's really asking a lot of most readers.

If I double the size of my staff, does that mean I now have ten staff members instead of five or does it mean I now have two staff members instead of one?

(Report Comment)
Caitlin S. Miller January 12, 2011 | 11:08 a.m.

Thank you for bringing up this important aspect. We both tried very hard to contact the State Historical Society to find these figures, but unfortunately we couldn't reach anyone before our deadline on Monday.

We have now been able to get this information. Here is what Gary Kremer, the executive director of the State Historical Society said, "Two years ago, the combined staff of the State Historical Society and the Western Historical Manuscript Collection on all four campuses totaled 47 full-time employees. After the actions announced on Monday, the total is 28 full-time employees."

We hope this helps!

-Caitlin S. Miller and Raha Obaei

(Report Comment)
Andrew Hansen January 12, 2011 | 11:32 a.m.

Thanks. That adds a lot to the story.

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