ORONO, Maine — Three days after an Orono call center announced the need for 400 full-time workers to staff emergency FEMA phone lines in the wake of superstorm Sandy, the company said the hiring has been canceled.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency contracted NexxLinx, a Georgia company, to create the temporary jobs in Orono. Since then, the government agency determined its existing emergency call line support structure is good enough.
“We’re all pretty disappointed,” said Jerry Anthony, senior program manager at NexxLinx Maine, on Saturday. “We had everything rolling to provide the area at least some temporary employment.”
A press release from NexxLinx explained that in the aftermath of a disaster such as Sandy, emergency response assessment is conducted constantly, meaning that plans can change quickly as readiness is assessed.
People who applied for the jobs will receive phone calls and letters explaining the change in plans, according to the release.
“As soon as we learned of the cancellation of the additional call support needs, we started contacting all applicants,” said Kim Williams, chief human resources officer of NexxLinx.
The Maine Department of Labor had been helping NexxLinx with initial application intake and decided, upon hearing the hiring was canceled, to open the doors of its Bangor Career Center on Monday to give job assistance to those who had sought the call center work.
“Although we are disappointed that we may not be able to provide Mainers with these temporary jobs, what this does mean is that fewer people affected by Hurricane Sandy need FEMA assistance — that’s good news,” said Jeanne Paquette, commissioner of the Department of Labor, in a press release.
The Labor Department’s other call centers will be closed Monday in observance of Veterans Day, as planned.
Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.