Hall-Kimbrell Environmental Services has slowly trimmed its workforce by just 20 employees since January, following 41 layoffs that were announced as the result of the local firm's acquisition by Professional Services Industries Inc. of Chicago, a company official said today.
Bob Naibert, Hall-Kimbrell's corporate counsel, said reports that the company has cut its local workforce by more than 60 positions since February were "exaggerated."
Naibert also dispelled rumors that the cutbacks in the workforce were a sign of future layoffs.
"It's business as usual," Naibert said. "People leave, occassionally people are laid off. It simply isn't a big change in attitude or policy. What we're seeing is normal turnover and there are no plans on doing anything any different. . . . I think there is a lot of needless concern."
WHEN PSI bought Hall-Kimbrell, the firm's co-founder, David Kimbrell, announced 41 layoffs as part of the merger of the two companies' operations.
At that time Kimbrell said about 400 people worked for Hall-Kimbrell in Lawrence, while another 200 worked at Hall-Kimbrell's 27 other locations across the country.
Naibert said today he didn't want to reveal the number of people who now work at Hall-Kimbrell's facilities in Lawrence for comparison purposes.
However, he confirmed that the most recent layoffs at the company came Monday.
"There were some layoffs. I can't say whether there were five or four or six, but there were a few," Naibert said. "It was an effort to streamline things and carry on business as usual. Every company does that from time to time."
FOUR PEOPLE who identified themselves only as Hall-Kimbrell employees have called the Journal-World this week, saying Monday's layoffs were only part of a systematic reduction of the local workforce since PSI bought the firm.
Information provided by one employee indicated there were 324 employees working in Lawrence in February as opposed to 255 now, indicating the work force was cut by about 69 people since then.
Naibert said that staff reduction figure was inflated.
"It was really about 20," Naibert said. "We've had some some shrinkage which is probably inevitable after a merger, but the figures have been exaggerated."
He said some employees had been sent to Hall-Kimbrell branch offices and some positions may have been incorporated into some of PSI's other offices around the country.
"WE'VE lost some people, we've hired some people," Naibert said. "The main message is that we're conducting business as usual and what we're doing is hardly different from any other business around town."
Naibert said he didn't know if reductions were being made at the Hall-Kimbrell's 27 branch offices.
"I'm not aware of any branch offices that have been shut down," he said.