Several front-line members of the Peoria Journal Star are out of a job.
Columnist Phil Luciano shared the news on his personal Facebook page Friday. In the post, he said Shannon Countryman, Chris Kaergard, Thomas Bruch and Aaron Ferguson would be terminated, as well as Wes Huett, who will be terminated Sept. 21.
The announcement also falls on the last day for long-time sports editor Kirk Wessler, who accepted a buyout offer.
Luciano wrote, “To be clear, these cuts were made to ‘get to a certain number,’ as we were told this week.”
He went on to say The Peoria Newspaper Guild tried to negotiate alternative positions for those employees, but were denied.
“Each of these gents is a rock-solid journalist who made the paper and Peoria a better place,” wrote Luciano. “There was no need for these terminations, except to increase the bottom line of a corporation already solidly in the black. This is a dark day not just for the Journal Star and our Guild, but for anyone who cares about communities, public discourse, and justice.”
WMBD has reached out to the Journal Star’s publishers for comment, but has not heard back.
This story will be updated.