Governor Kaine visits Lexis
Charlottesville's LexisNexis employees will receive a very special visitor today: Governor Tim Kaine. A little birdie tipped off the Hook to the Governor's visit, and Kaine's press secretary, Gordon Hickey, confirms his boss will be in town and is stopping by Lexis at the company's request. Hickey would not elaborate on the reasons for the visit.
What's Kaine's appearance all about? One high-level insider, who requested anonymity, says the Governor's coming simply because Lexis is one of the largest employers here– and "the state is focused on economic development in this area." According to the insider, it won't be the first time a governor has visited LexisNexis. In the past, says the insider, the Governor has been invited to celebrate renewal of Lexis' contract to publish the Virginia State Code. (Some of those visits likely occurred before Lexis' purchase of the Michie Company.)
Whatever the main reason for the Gov's visit, it could also be intended to boost the mood of Lexis employees who have described feeling anxious and who have called morale at the Lexis office "dismal" following a report earlier this spring that Lexis' parent company, Reed Elsevier, would be cutting 1,000 employees worldwide. A formal announcement from Lexis that 300 jobs would be cut from Lexis locations around the country certainly didn't boost spirits.
That bad news has, in fact, hit home, according to the Hook's sources, who report at least 12 Charlottesville workers have already been laid off. New York-based Lexis spokesperson Sue D'Agostino confirmed 10 of those layoffs earlier this month, but yesterday, she could not provide an answer to the Hook's questions about impending layoffs in the editorial department at the Charlottesville location. D'Agostino has a good excuse for her silence: she herself is out of a job, following a sudden restructuring of the Lexis Nexis communications team. She referred media inquiries to New Jersey-based Lexis employee Stephanie Sommese, who did not immediately return the Hook's call.