Knology ‘rightsizing’ in Lawrence

Knology of Kansas Inc. revealed plans Wednesday to eliminate a variety of jobs at its Lawrence operations during the next three, six, nine and 12 months.

The “rightsizing” initiative is designed to best serve the communications company and its cable television, Internet and telephone customers in the near and long terms, said Tony Palermo, a vice president and spokesman for Knology Inc., the company’s Georgia-based parent.

“We’re always going to keep a very strong local presence,” Palermo said.

Employees learned of the changes during individual meetings Tuesday, less than two months after the company purchased Sunflower Broadband in a deal valued at $165 million.

When Knology took over ownership from The World Company, Sunflower had 200 employees working to provide services to more than 33,000 customers for video, 28,000 customers for Internet and 15,000 customers for telephone in Douglas, Wyandotte and Leavenworth counties.

Palermo declined to discuss the number of employees told that their jobs would be eliminated but noted that all would be eligible and encouraged to apply for some of the more than 80 open positions with other Knology systems elsewhere. Affected employees have been offered severance packages.

The upcoming job losses affect departments with “common corporate positions,” Palermo said, such as finance, accounting, human relations and customer service.

“Not as many people will be required in the Knology of Kansas call center because those calls can be routed to one of the other two call centers,” Palermo said of Knology sites in Georgia and South Dakota.

Left unaffected are sales personnel, installers, and maintenance and service technicians, he said.

The company also plans to promote growth in its original programming, including 6News and other local shows, Palermo said.

The World Company owns the Lawrence Journal-World.