[UPDATED] AOL boss Tim Armstrong says 40% of Patch’s workforce will be laid off

A SATURDAY MORNING EMAIL: “After the initial shock of the layoffs wore off and the day went on, many Patch employees on the editorial side of the company have grave concerns about the company that run deeper than ever before.
“Those people who were laid off were identified on a purely random basis (purportedly by an outside consulting firm) with no weight given to performance or evaluations. Regional editors were never consulted before the process began. This has left many Patch regions without its strongest editors – and with the weaker editors (many of whom have significant issues with mastering technology and the platform as a whole) left to run the local sites.

“Furthermore, some regions lost staff members without any sites having been shut down.

“The intent of the layoff was to make the company leaner, allowing the editorial team to focus its effort on strong sites and to empower editors to cover news and produce rich content for the remaining sites. Instead, the product looks as if it will be watered down and devalued in certain geographical areas.

“Regional editors are now scrambling behind the scenes to reverse some of the damage caused by the haphazardly-executed layoff.”

* Patcher “should not be ‘terminated’ but rather should be retained for double what you were paying her” (vienna.patch.com)
* Read stories about Patch layoffs from Boston, Hartford, New Jersey, and Milwaukee. (Send me more local reports, please.)

Friday’s report
AOL chief exec Tim Armstrong said in a 9-minute conference call this morning that 40% of the Patch workforce will lose their jobs today. (That’s about 480 people.) No questions were taken during the call.

SMALLPATCHHe said 60% of the Patch sites will continue, 20% of them will partner with other outlets, and 20% will be consolidated or completely closed.

A tipster emails: “Regarding the call, the most telling thing was the song ‘Stormy Weather’ playing before the call got going.”

* All Patch sites in Washington state are folding (geekwire.com)

A tipster emails:

It seems HQ has organized employees into three groups:
– people staying on
– people getting laid off with two months severance
– people staying until Oct. 15. severance status unclear.

Report: All Patch sales people in Iowa, Missouri and Minnesota are out. (@foleymo)

* Enfield Patch editor: “I need to tell all of my faithful readers…” (facebook.com)
* More Patch editor farewells from…. James Kleimann (Ridgewood-Glennrock), Dirk Langeveld (New London) and Mark Maley (Milwaukee).

* Send me a link to your farewell.

A PATCHER EMAILS: “I was rooting to get laid off today but didn’t. I had colleagues get laid off effective Oct. 15; the idea of two months of lame-duck status is brutal, though I envy them knowing how long the tunnel is.”

* Earlier: Listen to Armstrong fire Patch’s creative director during a conference call (jimromenesko.com)