SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ Tough restrictions on new hires at the Salt Lake Organizing Committee are aimed at cutting costs, but they are hitting SLOC managers where it hurts.

Earlier this month, SLOC president Mitt Romney announced cost-cutting measures aimed at slashing $17 million from the organization's $1.4 billion budget.

SLOC still awaits $288 million in sponsorship contracts, and until that money is assured, Romney has planned for lean times, especially since the Olympic bribery scandal has put would-be sponsors in a holding posture.

Romney hoped to save $6 million from the freeze.

``This freeze does not mean we won't hire anybody for six months,'' said Ed Eynon, senior vice president for human resources. ``It does mean we want to delay some hires, or perhaps do some job eliminations, in order to yield $6 million in savings.''

That's supposed to happen in six months, meaning the committee has to save $1 million per month. The entire senior staff is scrutinizing open positions, determining if the jobs can be delayed or wiped out entirely.

``Everybody's been very helpful and supportive, but with a lot of pain,'' Eynon said. ``It means just that much more work for those who are already here.''

Right now 188 people work for SLOC, about 20 fewer than the committee expected to have. Under Romney's schedule, the staff will be 50 positions below projections at the end of the six-month moratorium, Eynon said.

That is substantial for an organization expected to max out at 800 people within the next three years.