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City to advertise for vacated Crosslake Communications position

Web posted July 22, 2014
By Kate Perkins, Northland Press Correspondent

The City of Crosslake Personnel Committee decided that it will advertise for a new Crosslake Communications network engineer following the resignation of Paul Davis. While the hiring process will be started, the city plans to reevaluate whether or not it wishes to hire for the position after reviewing findings from Charlesmead consultants, which should be completed within 60 days.

A conversation about the position was started among the city council at its regular meeting Monday, July 14, and finished at a personnel committee meeting that was held the next day at city hall.

Crosslake Communications’ former network engineer, Davis, had his last day on July 18. In addition to his duties at the communications company, Davis held a column in the Northland Press.

Paul Hoge, Crosslake Communications general manager, estimated that after two weeks of advertising the position, two weeks of interviews and the two week notice the future staff member would need to give his or her employer, it would be September before the position would be filled.

Hoge encouraged advertising for the position, stressing the importance of Davis’ job.

“I just think this position is too important for the city of Crosslake,” Hoge said. He told the council that the city has gone from 1.5 megabits to cover the whole city to offering up to 50 megabits per household. The city has 1,446 high-speed Internet customers and 15 dialup Internet customers.

“We have built the broadband (Internet) side of our business to where it is imperative that we have a qualified person to run it,” Hoge said.

Until the position is filled or another plan is made, Crosslake Communications will rely on 7-Sigma, a company based in Minneapolis, to watch the network remotely. 7-Sigma already does some work for the communications company. They keep several of the city’s servers, which they update with software and monitor on a high level.

“They support over 100 ISP companies. They’re a pretty solid outfit,” Council Member John Moengen, who is also personnel committee chair, said at the personnel meeting.

For an additional $4,000 a month (the city already pays the company $2,000 a month), 7-Sigma will fill in some of the duties of monitoring the network as Davis had. If 7-Sigma needs to come onsite, it will cost an additional $70 an hour.

“We have to obviously make a decision what we’re going to do moving forward, but this is going to give us some time,” Moengen said of hiring 7-Sigma.

Contracting city administrator Dan Vogt raised some questions over the job description and Davis’ duties, including Davis’ pay, after hearing that in addition to his duties monitoring the network, Davis handled 90 percent of the company’s computer repair. Davis was paid around $72,000 a year, Hoge said.

“Why pay someone that much money to repair computers?” Vogt said.

“We’re looking for someone who has the knowledge to manage the network and wants to do these other things (as well),” Moengen said.

“I would be okay with seeing what we can find and by that time maybe we have some better feedback from the study,” said Mike Lyonais, personnel committee member and city finance director.

The committee decided to advertise for the position without listing the position’s salary, instead requesting that applicants list their salary requirements.

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