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Red Cross consolidates Md. operation to cut costs

Thursday - 9/1/2011, 5:26pm  ET

By DAVID DISHNEAU
Associated Press

HAGERSTOWN, Md. - The American Red Cross said Thursday it's cutting the equivalent of 17 full-time and one part-time staff positions across western, central and southern Maryland, mainly to reduce administrative costs.

The consolidation of administrative, accounting and information-technology operations at the group's Chesapeake Region headquarters in Baltimore won't affect disaster-recovery capabilities, spokesman Doug Lent said.

"Red Cross is cutting and streamlining operations to help offset a deficit that we've been functioning under for quite some time. Basically, what it means is that we are consolidating a number of smaller chapters into larger regions so we can cover a greater area and use combined resources to respond to disaster," Lent said.

He said offices in Cumberland and La Plata will close Friday. A part-time, paid employee will be hired to oversee volunteer operations in each of those areas.

The Red Cross offices in Hagerstown and Frederick will remain open, Lent said.

Lent says the cuts will save $580,000, or about 25 percent of the region's budget.

The job losses also include five health-and-safety positions _ such as CPR; first-aid and aquatics training _ that were transferred to the national headquarters in Washington.

The Chesapeake Region includes all of Maryland except Montgomery and Prince George's counties and the Eastern Shore. It also includes Mineral County, W.Va.

The Cumberland office closing was first reported by the Cumberland Times-News.


(Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)