The Brainerd City Council on Monday took official action to lay off three Brainerd Area Civic Center employees. Their last day of employment will be Oct. 31.
The action comes on the heels of the city's contract with the Brainerd Amateur Hockey Association to have the nonprofit organization take over management of the ice arenas.
Council member and Personnel and Finance Chairwoman Mary Koep said that although BAHA takes over management of the arenas on Oct. 1, the finance committee recommended an extra month of service because of the past work the employees had done for the city. She also said that legally, the city needs to give advance notice to the employees.
"This strikes me as decent, reasonable and something that serves citizens well," Koep said.
"I don't buy that rhetoric," said council member Bob Olson, the only vote against the layoffs. He said the city approved a contract with BAHA Sept. 8, giving the city plenty of time to notify the employees they would be let go.
"When we talk about being responsible to the citizens, this is not being very responsible for citizens," Olson added.
Council member Kelly Bevans said he was in favor of keeping the employees on another 30 days because it would allow for a smooth transition while BAHA assumes management of the arenas. He also said that the city will need an employee to help BAHA remove and replace ice at the arenas that was damaged through melting following Friday's power outage.
"To just turn the keys over ... and say, 'Thank you very much,' doesn't do our citizens any good," Bevans said. "This will benefit our new management team and protect our interests."
BAHA has hired Jim Archibald, BAHA director of youth hockey and Brainerd High School boys hockey coach, as arena manager and is in the process of hiring a full-time Zamboni driver. BAHA also will hire three or four part-time employees to help out at the arena.
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at matt.erickson@brainerd dispatch.com or 855-5857.
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