Red Cross feels pain of restructuring

Staffing slashed, offices closed in financial squeeze

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Paul Light, a specialist on nonprofits and professor of public service at New York University, said the Red Cross deserved plaudits for undertaking a necessary but difficult task.

“It’s exactly the right thing to do, but it is extremely controversial,” he said. “Each one of these chapters has its own identity. Closing one is like closing the local library.”

He said the consolidation should improve disaster response by reducing disparities that sometimes surfaced between relatively strong and relatively weak chapters.

It’s the second major Red Cross overhaul in recent years. In 2008, faced with a deficit of about $210 million, it laid off one-third of the 3,000 employees at its Washington headquarters.

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