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Metro announces 100 layoffs as agency prepares for painful budget cuts

500 jobs at Metro are on the chopping block, and the people slated to lose them don't know it yet. (Video: WUSA9)
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Metro plans to lay off 100 employees in coming days, part of an effort to balance its fiscal 2018 budget that is due to be presented to the Metro board next week.

The layoffs were announced Friday morning in an email General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld sent to Metro’s staff. The 100 employees who will lose their jobs are part of the 500 positions he said in June he planned to eliminate. At the time, he did not indicate how many of job eliminations would come from attrition and unfilled job openings and how many would require terminations.

Wiedefeld said individual employees will notified by the middle of next week.

Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld to eliminate 500 jobs

“Over the next few days, Human Resources will be working with the executive team to notify about 100 employees about impacts to their jobs due to the budget actions we are taking,” Wiedefeld said in his message to the staff. “I will say more about these personnel matters once the notifications are complete.”

Metro is facing a $275 million budget shortfall, and Wiedefeld is scheduled to formally present his financial plan to the Metro board on Thursday. He is expected to announce a mix of budget fixes that could have a dramatic effect on both Metro staff and commuters, including possible fare increases and bus or train service cuts. He may also request additional money from the three jurisdictions that provide operating funds to Metro.

“I anticipate that Metro will have to make many difficult decisions to balance the budget,” Wiedefeld added in his email Friday.

Metro hints at fare hikes and service cuts to balance $275 million budget shortfall

In a budget-preparation document released earlier this month, Metro’s chief financial officer estimated that eliminating 500 positions in time for the start of fiscal 2018 would help reduce the agency’s operating costs by $25 million for that year. Metro’s next fiscal year will begin July 1, 2017.

The 100 employees to receive notification of layoffs in coming days are both management and rank-and-file workers, Metro spokesman Richard L. Jordan said Friday.

The 100 layoffs do not include the 20 managers who were fired earlier this year under an agency “restructuring.”

“Additional reductions, beyond the 500, are on the table,” Jordan said.