The Morris County Park Commission plans to lay off 36 employees as it contracts with private companies to operate Flanders (N.J.) Valley, Sunset Valley in Pompton Plains, and Pinch Brook in Florham Park. Operation of the golf courses has resulted in a deficit of $2 million, amplified by damage from major storms in 2011 and 2012.
The Morris County Park Commission plans to lay off 36 employees as it contracts with private companies to operate three golf courses, the Newark (NJ.) Star-Ledger reported.
The commission previously privatized the Berkshire Valley Golf Course in Jefferson and will now do the same with its three remaining courses: Flanders (N.J.) Valley, Sunset Valley in Pompton Plains, and Pinch Brook in Florham Park, the Star-Ledger reported.
“It’s a sad thing to have to do, but there’s no choice,” Park Commission Chairman John Sette said. The move was necessary because “golf revenue isn’t what it used to be,” and the failure to meet projections has resulted in a deficit of about $2 million, Sette said.
Business at the golf courses has dropped since the major storms in 2011 and 2012, the Star-Ledger reported.
By hiring private companies, the park commission will save on the cost of employees’ health care and pensions, Sette said. The 36 full-time employees are being notified they will be laid off December 1, the Star-Ledger reported.
However, he said, not all of those laid off will be golf course employees. Because of seniority rules, some current golf employees will be transferred to other sections in the park system and some employees from other sections will lose their jobs, the Star-Ledger reported.
The park commission will be putting out a request for proposals to run the three courses, as it previously did for Berkshire Valley, Sette said.
The commission, which operates as an autonomous agency, receives funding from the county and from park revenues, the Star-Ledger reported.