Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Slow Motion Neutron Bomb

The neutron bomb* that started detonating in the early 90's continued it's inexorable destruction of Oneida County's population today, as the area lost another 200 jobs.

Check processing operations at the Utica Office of the Federal Reserve Bank are being sent to a Philadelphia site, ending about 200 local jobs.

“The closing of the Utica office is tentatively scheduled for the first quarter of 2008,” said Larry Whitney, vice president and regional manager at the Utica office.

Located at the site of the former Oneida County Airport, the Utica office employs 136 people. Other support staff - including temps, vendors and couriers - that are not employed by the Federal Reserve also will be affected, bringing the total job loss to 200, Whitney said.

The Utica site processes checks for financial institutions in Upstate New York.

The closing is being attributed to a national decline in check volume, according to the Federal Reserve, which is scaling back operations at several sites and reducing staff by 1,740 positions.

On the bright side, the thriving State Homeland Security Center at the former county airport now has a lot more room to expand. At it's current growth rate there should be almost 5 people working there by next year. It's another Big Win!(TM) for Oneida County!

*For those of you that weren't around at the time of the cold war, the neutron bomb was an enhanced radiation nuclear warhead that had the charming ability to kill people while leaving buildings and material relatively unscathed. Our area's population implosion is roughly equivalent to what would have happened if one had been detonated over our heads back in 1990. It's just taking longer to take effect than anyone expected.