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Nielsen layoffs, tax breaks anger Oldsmar officials

OLDSMAR — City Council members expressed outrage Tuesday over the Nielsen Co.'s plans to eliminate 110 positions at their Oldsmar operation after accepting government money to create jobs.

"To think they have the gall to take taxpayers' money and then lay people off!" said council member Suzanne Vale. "I am so upset."

"It's just incomprehensible to me," agreed council member Janice Miller.

They were responding to news that Nielsen is outsourcing work to India-based Tata Consultancy Services after receiving at least $3.1-million in state and local subsidies mainly to create jobs in Oldsmar.

Tata, one of the world's largest providers of consulting and outsourcing services, has brought in its own workers from India.

And Nielsen, formerly known as Nielsen Media Research, says they have plans to restructure further.

The topic was raised by City Council members at the end of their regular Tuesday meeting.

Some members urged their colleagues to stay calm. Mayor Jim Ronecker reminded the council that outsourcing is a national trend.

"We can't tell them how to run their business," he said.

"No, but we can call a thief a thief when they take the taxpayers' money," said council member Greg Rublee.

Vice Mayor Eric Seidel said he didn't want to jump to any conclusions. He noted that Nielsen has previously been a good neighbor in Oldsmar. So he suggested the group invite a representative from Nielsen to speak at one of the council's future meetings.

"I'm going to immediately judge someone on their history and dealings with the city first," Seidel said. "If what we're hearing is accurate, then we have a new history."

Theresa Blackwell can be reached at tblackwell@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4170.

Nielsen layoffs, tax breaks anger Oldsmar officials 04/15/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 22, 2008 9:18am]
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