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United Way cuts to meet shortfall

Charlotte's United Way says it has no intentions of dropping any of its 91 member charities to deal with an expected campaign shortfall this year.

But the idea remains an option that could be discussed, officials said.

Questions about the prospect were raised Tuesday, during a United Way Board of Directors meeting that delivered a sobering campaign update: So far, fund drives at the Top 100 donor companies are running 19 percent behind last year.

At that rate, the overall campaign will likely top out at $35 million – a $10 million shortfall from last year.

The chief reason, says staffers, is the region's faltering economy, which has resulted in layoffs, mergers and business closures. Also a factor: lingering questions over a $1.2 million pay package given last year to the former United Way of Central Carolinas CEO Gloria Pace King.

Her temporary replacement, Mac Everett, gave the board specifics of how the agency is dealing with the expected shortfall, including in-house operating budget cuts amounting to $1.7 million.

Among the actions announced:

A voluntary separation program offered to all staffers, with a mid-November deadline to accept.

Five permanent and three temporary jobs have been frozen and will remain unfilled.

Three full time positions cut.

Merit pay raises eliminated for this fiscal year.

In addition, the agency plans to cut out a series of special grants that amount to about $1.4 million last year, bringing the total savings so far to just over $3 million. All that money will now go back into funding the 91 agencies, officials said.

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