Bishop Museum lets go of 14 employees
The layoffs are part of cost-saving efforts to ensure sustainability
The Bishop Museum recently laid off 14 employees to cut costs.
The layoffs were of those in management and nonmanagement levels that include an education coordinator at the Hawaii Maritime Center. The layoffs affect about 6 percent of the museum's 221 total staff.
"This was a very difficult decision to make, and before reducing staff, we also implemented numerous other cost-saving measures, including reductions in programs, hours of operation in some areas and other nonpersonnel costs. Unfortunately, these measures still did not generate the necessary cost savings and we had to implement the staff reductions," said Timothy E. Johns, president and chief executive officer of the Bishop Museum, in a written statement yesterday.
Johns said the restructuring was undertaken to better ensure the museum's sustainability and long-term growth.
Bishop Museum officials are assisting laid-off employees with severance packages, counseling and job placement services. "The restructuring will not affect our ability to continue to serve the community and provide world-class programs, research and exhibits. And, although the economic climate creates many uncertainties, we will be better positioned to respond to these difficult times," Johns said.
Johns could not be reached for additional comment on the staff reduction. Blair Collis, the museum's senior vice president and chief operating officer, declined to comment.
Layoffs occurred at the museum in previous years due to financial constraints. Nine employees were laid off in April 2003, and 20 employees were laid off in February 1999.
The Bishop Museum was founded by Charles Reed Bishop, husband of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, in 1889. Kamehameha Schools, formerly known as the Bishop Estate, does not own the museum.
The staff reduction has occurred as museum officials search for a benefactor to restore the historic but deteriorating Falls of Clyde ship located at Pier 7.
Collis has said the museum -- the nonprofit operator of the Hawaii Maritime Center, which owns the ship -- lacks funding to restore the vessel. A marine surveyor determined that more than $32 million is needed to restore the ship. If a benefactor is not sought to take on restoration efforts, the 130-year-old ship is likely to be sunk.