Municipal employees at Kidder, Peabody Inc. could know by this afternoon if they will remain with PaineWebber Inc., or if PaineWebber's purchase of the troubled brokerage firm will leave them without a job, a source with knowledge of the matter said.

PaineWebber has informally told several key members of Kidder's municipal staff that the firm will keep them on following the merger. On Oct. 16, General Electric Co. agreed to sell Kidder to PaineWebber, and since that time the fate of much of Kidder's municipal staff has been uncertain.

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