By Mark Hedges
Ukiah Daily Journal
October 31, 2001

Chief Forester and Vice President of Mendocino Redwood Company Mike Jani said Friday that his forestry division had no other choice but to lay off 14 employees.

Though the first of these will not actually be leaving until the end of November, Jani said the decision arrived at was "a sign of the times.

"We simply had to do something," Jani explained. "It's something we've been working on for months. We looked at the full gamut of our business, which includes log production out of the forest and the products that come from our forest science department and all of our restoration operation that we're doing out on our property."

Jani said the result of their analysis was a focused, strategic business plan that has the goal of increasing the company's standing inventories of timber, reducing annual harvests and growing more trees.

"The trouble with that is, if we reduce harvest levels we have less need for all the employees we currently have working," Jani said. "These were job reductions because we eliminated positions. Every single person we notified today was gut-wrenching and they are all-star players in our group."

Jani said the cuts were solely related to Mendocino Redwood Company's land and forestry division and doesn't affect the distribution center or the sawmill.

Jani described the jobs cut as being "salaried professional positions that represent 20 to 25 percent of our work force. These came from both in the ranks of our foresters and our forest scientists and biologists."

Jani said that no one was more sorry than he was to see these people go. "We have such a great group, losing any of them will be very, very difficult," he said.