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Headcount: Snow Day

Headcount realized this morning that most American kids have some back pay coming their way. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said it will cost his city $1 million per inch to dig itself out from under the enormous blanket of snow covering the ground there.

A million bucks an inch? We've learned not to flinch at New York's $9 martinis, but that's a bit steep, doncha think?

Headcount, with shovel in hand and mastadonic snow trousers on, pleads with the mayor to consider our substantially lower asking price of $500,000 a foot. Sure, it may take us a while: We'll start with the steps at City Hall and, after we've moved a few dozen feet of powder, we'll retire. But we're sure the fine citizens of New York would do their part for a similar fee.

While the mayor considers our offer, it's time to shovel the past week's most interesting hirings and firings:

  • Firstwave Secure Intelligent Optical Networks Inc., a company backed solely by Raza Foundries (see Firstwave's Lost Pay), now says the fact it hasn't paid its employees isn't the company's fault -- it's the government's. In a recent letter to Firstwave employees, Firstwave president and CEO Donald Basile admitted that Firstwave still owes its employees but blamed the company's hardships on the feds. "We are making every effort to expedite payment of the monies owed to Firstwave under its contracts with the Department of Defense," wrote Basile, who is also a managing director with Raza Foundries.

    Firstwave still owes about 90 of its former employees approximately eight weeks of back pay in addition to unpaid vacation, according to several people close to the company. The total amount of all the back pay owed to employees is between $1.5 million and $2 million, sources say, an average of about $15,000 per employee.

    Raza Foundries CEO Atiq Raza, in an email to Light Reading, says he can't comment on the Firstwave situation. "I do believe, that as far as the efforts put forth by the board of directors of Firstwave to fulfill the best interest of the company, we have worked far and beyond any board I have ever observed," he writes. "I am saddened that the efforts have not yet resulted in benefiting the company positively as the company deserves."

  • Luminous Networks Inc. chief financial officer Alan Cremers left his post on February 13, according to Headcount sources. The company hasn't publicly named a replacement.

  • Axiowave Networks Inc. has cut between 10 percent and 15 percent of its staff in recent weeks. The company now employs about 130.

    "There is always a regret -- nobody wants to layoff anyone, but the market conditions are how they are," says Axiowave president and CEO Mukesh Chatter. "We do have the money. We just want to make sure there is the biggest runway possible."

    The stealthy company expects to ship its first products during the second quarter of this year. The company just recently closed a $45 million Series C funding round, bringing the total funding to date to $96 million.

  • Galian Photonics Inc., a startup developing integrated components based on photonic crystals, cut all but three or four workers in January, according to a former employee. The skeleton crew is hanging on to sort out the company's affairs and to find a home for its intellectual property.

  • France Telecom SA (NYSE: FTE) is working to winnow down its workforce by means of retirements, a hiring freeze, and "natural departures," such as transfers of employees to civil service. It's not clear, though, by how much the operator will shrink. Dow Jones reports that the company expects to see 4,100 leave through retirement. The French newspaper Le Monde reports that the cuts will affect about 7,500 jobs in France and some unprofitable foreign activities will be wound up.

  • Sources close to Iolon Inc. say the company has cut its staff back to around 80 from a peak of about 140 last year. Representatives for Iolon couldn't be reached for comment on Tuesday.

    Here's a summary of other industry appointments, disappointments, and other personnel news from the past several days: That's all we can shovel right now. If we missed anything, send a tip to [email protected].

    — Phil Harvey, Marguerite Reardon, and Pauline Rigby, Senior Editors, Light Reading
    www.lightreading.com
  • optomania 12/5/2012 | 12:37:18 AM
    re: Headcount: Snow Day Beware - Which responsible president and board member governs a company by telling them to not pay employees and make it contingent on revenue received from the Federal Government? Does this mean that the seasoned venture capital shop of Atiq Raza did not take into account what it owes employees and creditors while running an operation?

    Firstwave president and CEO Donald Basile admitted that Firstwave still owes its employees but blamed the company's hardships on the feds. "We are making every effort to expedite payment of the monies owed to Firstwave under its contracts with the Department of Defense," wrote Basile, who is also a managing director with Raza Foundries.

    This is his classic vague response. First he says he cannot comment - then he comments. The board of directors he is referring to is Don Basile and he himself. Raza Foundries is the only investor in Firstwave. Gerry is a bystander looking to make a quick buck after failing at Lucent. John Taylor, which Atiq touted as the next John Chambers is a bystander. It's Atiq and Don - ruining employees careers and not paying them.

    Raza Foundries CEO Atiq Raza, in an email to Light Reading, says he can't comment on the Firstwave situation. "I do believe, that as far as the efforts put forth by the board of directors of Firstwave to fulfill the best interest of the company, we have worked far and beyond any board I have ever observed," he writes. "I am saddened that the efforts have not yet resulted in benefiting the company positively as the company deserves."

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