Monday, March 2, 2009

BSA happenings

Baptist St. Anthony's Hospital, the city's fourth-largest employer, is not any different than any other business during the economic downturn, Mary Barlow, director of corporate communications, told the Amarillo Downtown Kiwanis Club on Monday.

In 2007, BSA had its best year ever financially followed by its worst year in 2008, she said. So for the first time, the company felt it was forced to lay off a portion of its workforce of more than 3,300 employees.

Initially, the number was going to total 150, but Barlow said the board of directors looked at other cost-cutting measures first and trimmed then number of layoffs to 47.

"Out of those 47, 13 others were able take other jobs at BSA, so we only lost 34," Barlow said. "We are faced with many of the same issues many of you face. That was painful for us, and certainly painful for the people involved. But one of the things we have to make sure of is that BSA is financially solvent."

Barlow also said in light of BSA's new hiring policy, enacted at the first of the year, that prohibited the hiring of smokers, she became a popluar target of blogs and other forms of communication. One, in particular, was a phone call.

"She said, 'Mary, I want to make a comment,'" Barlow said. "You always love it when they start out like that. She said, 'I saw you on TV and you used to have the prettiest brown hair, but you've bleached it and now it looks awful.' It's great to be in PR. You got to have thick skin."

And, apparently, hair color that doesn't change.

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