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Crosslake Communications operations manager resigns

Another longtime Crosslake Communications employee submitted a letter of resignation, marking the second such departure since June 30.

Operations manager Jared Johnson, who has worked at the company for 13 years, announced his resignation Tuesday, July 22. Johnson accepted a general manager position at Goldfield Telephone Company in Goldfield, Iowa.

"I've been offered a phenomenal opportunity," he said. "It's a promotion for me from an inside industry perspective."

Johnson said he began looking for job openings in the telecommunications industry because of what he called "instability with what the city council has done."

"The situation here did cause me to start looking at other opportunities," he said. "I didn't have the comfort factor that it was going to be a long-term opportunity (in Crosslake)."

In May, the Crosslake City Council hired a Baltimore-based consulting firm, Charlesmead Advisors, to evaluate the efficiency of Crosslake Communications.

Questions the council hopes the consultation can answer include whether the company has an appropriate manager-to-employee ratio, whether the current pricing model makes sense, what comparable companies are doing to implement operational improvements and identifying opportunities for cost reductions, among other considerations.

Mike Lyonais, city finance director/treasurer, reported at the May 27 council meeting that in four of the last five years, Crosslake Communications has run at losses ranging from $40,616 in 2011 to $176,024 in 2009, before fund transfers to the city. The only year with positive income was 2013, with just under $5,000 earned.

The council has not yet heard results from the consultation. City Clerk Charlene Nelson said the council might hear results at a special meeting or at its scheduled September meeting.

Johnson is the second employee to resign since the council approved the consultation, following network engineer Paul Davis' resignation June 30. Davis took a position at Emily Cooperative Telephone Company.

Johnson will begin his new position in Iowa on Aug. 18, after he, his wife and children relocate to Goldfield. He said the city is a similar size to Pequot Lakes and that he intentionally sought opportunities in a rural area. Goldfield Telephone Company is a privately held company that was established in 1903, according to its website.

Chelsey Perkins

Chelsey Perkins grew up in Crosslake and is a graduate of Pequot Lakes High School. She earned her bachelor's degree in professional journalism at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Perkins interned at the Lake Country Echo and the Rochester and Austin Post-Bulletins, and also worked for the student-run Minnesota Daily newspaper as a copy editor and columnist during college. She went on to intern at Utne Reader magazine, where she was later hired as the research editor. Before becoming the community editor of the Brainerd Dispatch, Perkins worked as the county government beat reporter at the Dispatch and a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal.

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