Donors pitch in to keep Santa on the job

/ Source: The Associated Press

Santa's gotten an early gift.

Donors have stepped forward to keep Santa Claus on the job at a Long Island landmark after he was given the pink slip.

A radio station and a local politician were among those Friday who said they would pay the $660 salary for the retiree to portray Santa at a county-supported general store in St. James.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy had said it wouldn't be right to spend the money while trying to close an estimated $135 million budget gap. Up to 750 workers face layoffs. Levy says volunteers could play Santa.

Built in 1857, the St. James General Store is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was operated privately for decades, but is now supported with funding from the county government.