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NEW YORK-The Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc. is slightly leaner after recent staff cuts, but it plans to add staff in new positions next year.

The society recently trimmed six support staff positions after a review of its operations revealed redundancies in a few areas, explained Linda H. Lamel, executive director of New York-based RIMS.

In addition to the cuts, RIMS has made a change in its general counsel's office. Patricia Vaughan, formerly associate general counsel, was named general counsel.

She assumes the title formerly held by Paul Brown, who was general counsel and director of government affairs and legal services. Ms. Vaughan will report to Mr. Brown, who remains in the government affairs post.

"Linda and I realized that given the changing employment

arena, particularly for associations, we needed a full-time general counsel looking at the legal issues," Mr. Brown explained. "Up until now, Pat and I had split our legal duties with other issues."

Anne Allen, formerly state and provincial legislative counsel, has been named assistant director of government affairs. Ms. Allen will continue to monitor activity in the United States and Canada but will focus more tightly on a core of six to eight states and provinces where legislative activity is heaviest.

The staff cuts, meanwhile, have allowed RIMS to achieve "some administration efficiencies by reorganizing some work," Ms. Lamel pointed out.

"In a small organization, very often people end up wearing a lot of hats," she said. "We looked at all the people and said, 'Do we have the right hats on the right people?' And we found that we didn't."

It has been a number of years since RIMS has reviewed its workforce, she noted. "We found some things could be combined."

In addition, the society's increasing use of technology has eliminated some duties staffers previously performed. Last year represented "a big leap forward in terms of technological support," Ms. Lamel said.

The realignment is part of RIMS' mission to "make sure we get the maximum use of our members' dollars," Ms. Lamel remarked.

The staff cuts trim RIMS' total employee count to 49 from 55. But that number is due to rise next year, Ms. Lamel said.

Around $250,000 saved from the cuts will be used to hire new personnel, most of whom will work to develop RIMS' educational programs, she said. Five employees will be hired in areas that currently are not sufficiently staffed, she explained. Those new hires won't replace any employees who were cut.

"What we want to do with the new positions is move forward in education with new programs and delivery systems," Ms. Lamel explained. "We need personnel who can do that."

Ms. Lamel said one of the new staffers scheduled to come on board next year will take over some public relations responsibilities for the society. "We don't have anyone here who focuses on external contacts," she noted.

The new public relations staffer will deal with the media and disseminate information on various RIMS programs and efforts, she explained.

She said details will be released later regarding the other four vacancies that will be filled in 1998.