California-based Alorica Inc. says that it not only hasn’t shut down its Owensboro operations, it is continuing to hire more employees.

At least two Evansville TV stations and a local blog reported Tuesday and early Wednesday that the company had shut down its operations here.

Sunny Yu, Alorica’s vice president of global communications and corporate social responsibility, said on Wednesday, “We have not shut down our operations.”

She said, “Just to clarify, our employees in Owensboro are continuing to work as we transitioned our approximately 250 onsite employees to work-at-home months ago.”

Yu said, “And we continue to hire in the area. If anyone is interested in working remotely with us, they can apply by emailing careers@alorica.com.”

The call center at 234 Frederica St. is virtually empty, but only because employees have been working from home during the pandemic, she said.

Yu said, “We plan to permanently maintain our current operating model, allowing our employees in Owensboro to continue to work from home. We’re also looking to hire more in the local area as part of our work-at-home program.”

Angela Hamric-Waninger, the city’s finance director, said Alorica is still paying occupational tax on its employees here.

Mayor Tom Watson said Wednesday morning that city officials haven’t been able to talk with Alorica officials about the local operations and that the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp. was also having problems talking to Alorica officials about the status of the call center.

He said he was under the impression that the call center was closed.

Watson said Wednesday afternoon that he plans to talk to Matt Hayden, who owns the Alorica Building, about the building.

Ed Ray, chief operating officer for Gulfstream Commercial Services, one of Hayden’s companies, said they had no comment on the status of the building.

In September 2016, Alorica announced that it would open a customer service center in Owensboro in 2017.

The center, it said, would eventually employ up to 840 people.

The call center opened in July 2017.

Daviess Fiscal Court approved $300,000 worth of incentives for the company in 2016 — based on it having 550 employees by the fall of 2022.

And the city approved $1.5 million in incentives.

That agreement required Alorica to have a payroll of $10.29 million by the end of 2020.

But Alorica’s hiring has yet to reach the level that would trigger either of those incentives being paid.

A spokeswoman for the Kentucky Office of Employer and Apprenticeship Services said Alorica has not filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, which requires employers to provide written notice at least 60 calendar days in advance of covered plant closings and mass layoffs.

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301, klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com

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