ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine announced Friday that it is eliminating its employee assistance program, which provides counseling services to university faculty, staff, retirees and members of their households.

Three positions will be eliminated as part of the cost-cutting measure, including the director of the program who is retiring at the end of this year. A counselor and an administrative specialist will be laid off. UMaine will save $250,000 by eliminating the program, according to Margaret Nagle, senior director of public relations and operations.

The announcement sent out to university faculty and staff is the first of what is expected to be many cuts made this year at Maine’s flagship university.

UMaine must reduce its budget by $12 million for fiscal year 2015, according to a letter sent to faculty and staff by president Paul Ferguson in February. Those cuts will help alleviate a $36 million budget shortfall across the University of Maine System’s seven campuses.

Employee assistance will now be provided by Cigna, the health insurance provider that delivers those services on the other University of Maine System campuses.

UMaine employees will be able to use the on-campus employee assistance program or the Cigna program from April 1 to May 9, after which only the Cigna program will be offered.

Nell Gluckman

Nell is the education reporter for the Bangor Daily News, but she will be helping out the political team by covering the 2nd Congressional District election this year. Before joining the Bangor Daily News...