How Not To Hold Layoffs: Company-Wide Email Promises 'Good' News on Friday, Bloodbath Ensues Monday

New bosses often mean change. We here at Gawker would not know this, because all our managers die in their chairs, but we have heard from industry professionals that when there's a transition of a power at a company, the change often augurs new protocols, shifting job descriptions, the ominous possibility of layoffs, and, say, far worse, the loss of telecommuting. The immediate aftermath can be nerve-wracking—especially when the position at stake is CEO.

But it is not unreasonable to think that after a CEO's departure, when the chairman of your company (who would soon become interim CEO) sends a mass email on Friday promising "good" news on Monday, that maybe, just maybe, you're not all completely fucked.

That would be a very mistaken assumption in the case of the Daily Voice, a Northeastern network of hyperlocal news sites competing (and arguing publicly) with the AOL property Patch.com.

Last Friday afternoon, employees received a warm staff-wide email from CEO Zohar Yardeni announcing his resignation, describing the departure as a "difficult decision," but stating that he'd be staying on as an advisor.

Chairman Carll Tucker followed up an hour later with a reassuring email. "Monday morning we will share with you the news about where we're going and how we're going to get there," Tucker wrote. "The news is good—but you'll need to sit tight while we finalize our plans." He signed off with bro-ful optimism. "I am pumped about the prospect of working with you to build a great company."

What was this "good" news? A renewed sense of vision? A new bonus structure? Nicer chairs? Triple-ply toilet paper?

Come Monday, company employees would find the new perks were even better than that: more free time!

Which came in the form of unemployment.

Without severance packages.

This past Monday, the Daily Voice announced that the company would be shuttering all 11 of its Massachusetts sites. In Connecticut, where the company maintains 11 sites, and New York, where it runs 30, there were widespread layoffs. In Westchester alone, eight reporters were canned, plus two managing editors.

"Just about every experienced and/or older person on the editorial staff was let go," a tipster informed us. "Now it's going to be nothing but 23-year-olds doing twice as much work for the same 25K base salary they were making before." Employees received scheduled meeting times which ended up being individual termination appointments. "It was pretty horrible."

We reached out to Holy Gun-Jumping Email Sender Carll Tucker for a comment last night, but haven't heard back.

Here's his Friday note, in full:

From: Carll Tucker
To: Entire Daily Voice Staff

Hey Team,

Zohar has been a great leader—and a great human being. He has taught us all what it means to be an Internet company. I look forward to his continued involvement with The Daily Voice as a strategic advisor.

Monday morning we will share with you the news about where we're going and how we're going to get there. The news is good—but you'll need to sit tight while we finalize our plans. Check your email about our company-wide phone conference early Monday morning.

I am pumped about the prospect of working with you to build a great company.

Carll

Lastly, we would not advise applying for one of the Town Reporter positions currently posted on the Daily Voice's site. If the phone interview goes well, they'll bring you in the next day to punch you in the face.

[Illustration by Jim Cooke.]