Pangnirtung owes $1.5 million, cuts jobs

The hamlet of Pangnirtung has accumulated a deficit of $1.5 million and lost two senior staff... and more lay-offs are coming.

There’s trouble in the Baffin Island community of Pangnirtung. The hamlet has accumulated a deficit of approximately $1.5 million. The news comes after the departure of longtime Senior Administrative Officer, Rob Mongeau, and the former finance officer Brenda Belair.

Ed Murphy is filling in as the Interim SAO.

"Because the hamlet is in a deficit position, it means that we need to reduce some of the cost of the operation,” Murphy says.

Part of that reduction is getting rid of jobs. So far five hamlet employees have been issued lay-off notices that come into effect at the end of February.

"This is nothing that any of us choose to do but we also have the responsibility to do it so that we can continue to provide essential services to the community," Murphy says.

Murphy says there are no plans for any further job cuts... but people have told CBC they're worried.

The new SAO now has the difficult job of helping the Hamlet get through the next few months.

"This has been growing for a number of years, this deficit,” Murphy says. “There were some efforts that were being made to try and recover some of this, but they just have not been effective to date. There's certainly a commitment on [behalf of] the Government of Nunavut and the community, and hamlet council to remove and reduce this deficit."

The hamlet is developing a plan to reduce the deficit, with help from the Department of Community and Government Services.

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