Thirty-five employees within Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems’ information system department were notified Tuesday that they are being laid off.

The staff reduction is part of an effort to close a $3 million gap in the department’s budget before the hospital system begins its next fiscal year in October.

“It was part of a continued effort to reduce overall operating costs,” said Suzanne Spruce, chief communications officer for Brewer-based EMHS.

The department looked at other ways to save, including changing processes, delaying projects or reducing their scope, and offering early retirement buyouts to 42 workers age 55 or older with at least 10 years of service. Thirteen employees accepted the offer, but it wasn’t enough to achieve the cost-savings goal.

“Unfortunately, more needed to be done,” said Spruce. The layoffs reflect 10.5 percent of the department’s 300 employees and reflect a mix of administrative and staff positions.

The affected workers were given 30 days of notice and invited to apply for openings elsewhere within the EMHS network. The system’s career center made itself available to help with updating resumes and provide other recruitment services.

More than 20 of the affected workers worked within the system as project managers, Spruce said. “Those skills could be transferred to other departments,” she said.

The layoffs will enable the information system department to eliminate its $3 million budget gap, Spruce said.

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