Bank Owner Bill Graves
Planters reduces staff, fights layoff rumors By MARY JO PROCHAZKA Staff Writer Two employees lost their jobs last week at Planters Bank and Trust Company, and other employees fear their jobs may be in jeopardy. But rumors of large layoffs to be announced this week at the Salina bank are unfounded, Sam Evans, chairman of the bank's board of directors, said Tuesday. "No decisions (have been) made about further layoffs," said Evans. The staff reduction came on the heels of the March 16 announcement by Dean Tinkler, bank president, that he would resign effective April 1. Vice president Don G. Lamb and teller operations officer Barbara Bell lost their jobs in the reductions last Friday. The layoffs in the staff of 66 were based on recommendations made in an efficiency study, Evans said. Officials from Bank Management Resources, an Atlanta-based consulting firm, spent from about mid- November through mid-February evaluating the efficiency of all operations at Planters, Evans said. The consultants reported their findings — which included an opinion the bank was overstaffed — as their study progressed, Evans said. The consultants were summoned after the bank changed ownership last fall from the King and Koester families to Salina Bancshares, a group of five Saline County busi- nessmen whose president is Evans, and the Fourth Financial Corporation of Wichita, which purchased the remaining 24.9 percent interest in the bank. "When we bought the bank, one of the things we were concerned about was the staffing, and we did find it was overstaffed," Evans said. Although he said the rumors of large staff reductions were unfounded, and Evans didn't rule out further cuts. "We're still looking at that report," he said. Evans said he wouldn't comment on whether more staff reductions were recommended by the consultants. "I'd rather not say. I'd rather not get into that, make everybody nervous." William H. Graves, one of the five local owners of the bank, said he wasn't sure what actions might result at the bank. "It's like anything else. You've got to kind of take a look at where you are," he said, when asked about the efficiency study. "We're still studying it and trying to figure out what the best thing to do is," owner Richard Morrison said. Owner George L. Frisbie declined to comment, and owner Roger Morrison was out of town and unavailable for comment.