The Trustees of Reservations announced Wednesday that it will be laying off 10 per cent off its staff statewide, including one staff member on the Vineyard, to address an “ongoing multi-million-dollar structural deficit.”

Despite the layoffs, the reduction in workforce will not affect operations on the land nonprofit’s Martha’s Vineyard properties, spokeswoman Mary Dettloff said in an email to the Gazette.

Earlier this month, Islands director Darci Schofield shared that the organization also had successfully hired its first-ever Martha’s Vineyard beach manager, a full-time, year-round position based on Chappaquiddick. The formal announcement will come in several weeks once the new hire begins, she said in a recent conservation commission hearing.

The Trustees owns properties across the state and manages several coastal properties on the Island. The organization will lay off 30 staff members, eliminate 10 vacant positions and plan further spending cuts to address the deficit, Ms. Dettloff said. 

“While we did see an increase in operating revenue during the pandemic, our expenses far out-paced the revenue,” she said.

The regional land trust’s financial woes have already drawn ire from Edgartown town officials who claim the Trustees have not adequately invested in its Chappaquiddick properties and, in turn, allowed the Dike Bridge bulkhead, the sole point of access to those properties, to fall into disrepair.

In a December conservation commission hearing, commissioner Geoffrey Kontje criticized the organization for potentially allowing $52,000 worth of town-dredged sand to go unused due to lack of funds. The Trustees had only budgeted for 1.5 weeks of work.

“This sand the town is providing isn’t available every year,” Mr. Kontje said. “To leave half of it on the beach when so many different trails need to be nourished, I think, is a mistake which goes back to concerns about funding.”

The town ended up assisting the Trustees to utilize the remaining 1,600 cubic yards of sand.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the number of Vineyard Trustees staff included in the layoffs. One staff member working on the Island was laid off.