The dichotomy which exists between long-range economic planning activities and short-term "knee-jerk" reaction planning can be a major disrupter of a local planning agency's economic development program. In an industrial community the rumored or impending shutdown of a major employer is exactly the type of situation which can force the local planning staff to shift its activities on very short notice into a crisis status. Usually there is a lack of useful information about the affected workers and about the current situation in the local job market. This combination of data needs makes the provision of timely programming and relief a difficult, it not Impossible, objective. For some time now Durham, N.C. has been experiencing economic uncertainties and planning difficulties associated with the rumored closing of the Liggett and Myers tobacco plant. Still one of Durham's largest employers, with a present workforce of approximately 1600, the company laid off 410 production workers in October 1979. The move served to reinforce speculation about the parent company's (The Liggett Group) future plans for its Durham operations. Because of L & M's declining position in the domestic cigarette market and the well-publicized failure of sale negotiations between The Liggett Group and a potential North Carolina buyer, it is evident that L & M's local position is somewhat tenuous. The Durham experience with L & M is, and will continue to be, a valuable example for other communities, and for policy-makers seeking to formulate effective program planning that is applicable to similar situations.