Even Santa can't keep his job these days
It’s Friday, yes, but we’ve still got a disheartening challenge for you.
Quick, name the most depressing job news of the day: is it that a) Canada suffered its largest monthly employment loss since 2009, b) the U.S. only grew a pathetic 80,000 jobs in October, or c) Santa may have to pawn his reindeer.
Yes, word came down this week that, amid gloomy jobs figures from across North America, one Long Island county might have it worst this week.
It’s had to fire Santa.
According to Newsday, Suffolk County in New York is so strapped for cash it’s been forced to can its longtime Santa Claus.
The 83-year-old that’s played Kris Kringle for nine years, a retired cop, will be out his $660 this year because Suffolk can’t afford to pay.
“With 750 people facing layoffs and state aid cuts to our health centers, our budget situation constantly forces us to make tough choices,” a spokesman for Suffolk County’s executive said this week. “The alternative is always there for … a volunteer willing to play Santa for the kids.”
Suffolk is facing a $135 million budget shortfall, Newsday notes, so it’s not surprising the county is exercising a little belt tightening. That said, axing Santa and his whopping $660 salary hasn’t become the most popular decision among locals.
“I know our fiscal condition is dire, but I don’t know it’s that bad that we have to fire a part-time Santa,” another public official said. Suffolk is currently looking for volunteers to pick up the Santa slack.
In fairness, Santas have been fired before. One English Claus was canned in 1981 for turning a four-year-old girl away, and last year a San Francisco Santa was dismissed for telling a naughty joke to kids.
But this was all supposed to done with the economy bouncing back. Santas were laid-off in 2008; that another has been fired in 2011, then, might be proof we’re not quite back to strength, after all.