Officials welcome Delphi news for community

Published 5:00 am Monday, April 3, 2006

Local officials welcomed the news that the Brookhaven Delphiplant would remain open after a company bankruptcy realignmentannouncement Friday.

The company announced Friday that as part of the bankruptcyprocess 21 of its 29 factories would be sold or closed. However,Delphi listed its Mississippi plants in Brookhaven and Clinton, adwell as facilities in Michigan, Indiana, New York and Ohio, as”core automotive facilities” that would remain open.

“We’re going to be OK,” said Cliff Brumfield, executive directorof the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce. “We’ve heardall along that the Brookhaven plant would be conducting ‘businessas usual’ and it appears that that is what is happening.”

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Mayor Bob Massengill said he spoke with a Delphi representativeFriday afternoon to confirm the news.

“We talked today with their New York office and Brookhaven isdefinitely one of the eight facilities that will remain open,” themayor said. “Obviously, we’re not sure what effect (thereorganization) will have in the long run, but to be considered oneof the core facilities is certainly a positive thing.”

Delphi identified its “core automotive facilities” as those thatcould best “provide the greatest support and differentiation to itscustomers in automobile, aftermarket, consumer electronics, andadjacent markets, such as commercial vehicles, medical systems,computers and peripherals, military/aerospace, telecommunicationsand commercial, residential and transportation products.”

Brumfield said recent expansions and upgrades at the Brookhavenfacility may have positioned it well for the reorganization.

“In recent years, they’ve made a tremendous investment in newtechnology and equipment at the Brookhaven facility,” he said.”They continue to be one of our largest employers as well as one ofour largest community supporters.”

The economic advisor said the road ahead for the Brookhavenfacility may be bumpy and rough in the immediate future, but hefelt the path would clear eventually.

“They will all be going through a restructuring, but theBrookhaven plant has good leadership and its employees have beenthere for many, many years,” Brumfield said. “That will help ensureDelphi’s continued presence in Lincoln County.”

It helps, he said, that the relationship between the local plantand its union representatives has “always been very positive andbeneficial for the company and its employees.” Calls to unionrepresentatives seeking comment on the company’s plans were notreturned Friday.