Corporate retreat in Las Vegas an insult

Buffalo News Publisher Stan Lipsey and his entire executive team spent the weekend “conducting business” in Las Vegas. We originally thought there was some newspaper convention in town or other compelling reason for them to travel across the country to this desert gambling mecca. But no. Apparently, this is nothing more than a hot corporate retreat for the News’ top people – Lipsey, President Warren Colville, the other VPs and top department heads. It seems all of them are incapable of making sound business decisions within the confines of the region this newspaper actually covers. 

We’re curious as to how Lipsey justifies spending thousands of dollars for this resort vacation. In retrospect, we guess it makes sense that the group hung out in Sin City. News management is obviously not in the public relations business. Because if it were, it would have occurred to them that this looks bad. Since it didn’t, we’re asking all Guild members to wear stickers to show them that’s exactly how it looks to us. 

Management continually bombards us with the message that these are austere times, requiring cutbacks and givebacks. For the group to then embark on a Vegas resort retreat smacks of sheer hypocrisy. Over the past two years, The News has shed 55 full-time Guild employees  – more than half of whom were forced to leave. Thirty full-time district managers are gone, and so are five senior reporters. We’ve endured hiring freezes, wage cuts, and taken on heavier workloads in threadbare departments. 

Next year, we face the likely prospect of management seeking more contract concessions in health care and other issues. So yes, we think the whole trip stinks. 

If management feels the need for another retreat, we suggest they consider a destination that isn’t such a slap in the face to the rest of us. Maybe even one that’s (gasp!) in our circulation area. Perhaps Lipsey and the gang might enjoy Niagara Falls, for instance. They could have booked luxurious accommodations at the Giacomo Hotel, with rooms that offer butler service and views of the Niagara Gorge. The city even has a conference center, complete with LCD projector, flat-screen TVs and interactive white boards. 

And if they miss Vegas, there’s always gambling and entertainment at the Seneca Niagara Casino. Management missed the Joan Rivers and David Brenner comedy show there on Saturday. We saw an nice color ad for it in The News.