By Jake Neher, KBRW
Kotzebue-based Maniilaq Association will be laying off around 40 employees effective immediately.
Maniilaq President Ian Erlich made the announcement Friday morning on radio station KOTZ in Kotzebue.
Erlich had sent an email to employees this week saying that some programs would no longer be in service as Maniilaq moves into the new fiscal year in October.
Erlich blamed the federal government for the health provider's budget shortfall
"When you're putting together a business strategy, you have to make assumptions and you have to forecast numbers," he said. "We do the best that we can. Congress, it's up to them to provide the funding for the programs that we're operating on their behalf. And we always would like for them to adequately fund it, since we're really running programs that are out of a trust responsibility. We did hope that they would pass the president's proposed budget for IHS, and it just didn't happen this year. So that caused us, since it was at such a late time in the fiscal year, it caused us to have overruns."
Erlich said that Maniilaq's revenue projection for the coming fiscal year did not materialize due to Congressional action and the reductions in federal funding caused in-house budget shortfalls.
"When we put our budget together, we had about a 12-million dollar gap that we were looking at, based off of what we were operating on this year," he said. "And so we had to start looking at making some cuts. We brought it down from $12 to 10 million, and at that point it was pretty clear that administers were understandably reluctant to let go of some programs. But it comes down to the fact of, do we have funds to run these programs or not? So we had to look at programs that didn't bring in any money at all, basically programs that we would subsidize."
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