Cal Sierra leader resigns, four laid off in realignment

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By ERIN MAYES

Four employees were laid off and one resigned from his position at Cal Sierra Disposal, a company that has been undergoing reorganization for the last 18 months.

Sacramento-based Waste Management Inc. has owned the company since the late '90s, and has been reorganizing staff positions, resulting in some layoffs, said district Operations Manager Don Johnson.

Johnson, 48, moved to Tuolumne County three weeks ago to take on the position vacated by Jim Briscoe, who said he resigned because he doesn't agree with the direction the company is taking.

Briscoe, 47, worked for Cal Sierra for eight years and said he thought he'd retire from there until the company asked him to help lay off employees.

"Well, the final straw was, they called me up and asked me to terminate five positions, and they wouldn't even discuss the ramifications," Briscoe said. Following through with this plan would have a negative effect on service, he told Waste Management officials.

Rather than stick around for what he saw as impending hard times, Briscoe told his supervisor he'd rather quit.

"My boss said, 'Well, are you sure you want to do that?'" he said. "So I went home and talked to my wife, went back to work the next morning, faxed it to them and e-mailed it to them.

"Essentially, the day after I resigned, they asked me not to come back," Briscoe said. "Honestly, their concern was for the employees ... they felt that it would be easier on the people."

He said he was disappointed to hear a couple of weeks later that Waste Management had gone ahead with the layoffs, despite his efforts.

"I thought if I quit, they'd at least think about it," he said. "We felt we had a pretty good team going and did a pretty good job of running the place."

Three of the employees who were laid off were administrative and one was in management, Johnson said. They each received "very good" severance packages, he said.

"A lot of the functions that they did are now done at other areas," Johnson said. "We think we have a better, safer, more solvent situation. This is the approved model for our facility."

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The Union Democrat
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