Fayette County

Spectrum closes Lexington call center, lays off 56

Cable company Charter Communications has shut down its Spectrum call center in Lexington, laying off 56 people Wednesday.

The layoffs were confirmed by Charter spokesman Michael Pedelty, who said all the employees were full-time. Spectrum is the subsidiary created last year when Charter Communications of Stamford, Ct., acquired Time Warner Cable, which was then Lexington’s cable provider.

“An important part of Spectrum’s strategy for providing better customer service is larger call centers, where we can deliver information, training and technology to our representatives much more efficiently,” Pedelty said. “At the same time, we know this is a difficult time for our employees in Lexington affected by this decision. We are working directly with them to provide comprehensive severance benefits, including salary continuation, health insurance and outplacement services.”

Lexington’s Spectrum retail store and field operations will remain open, Pedelty said. The Lexington call center handled billing matters. All of those calls will now be routed to Spectrum’s offices in Louisville or Florence, he said.

Meanwhile, the city of Lexington is exploring whether Spectrum and its parent company Charter violated its 10-year franchise agreement and a settlement agreement, which were both signed in December 2014 after months of contentious negotiations.

“The government is further reviewing the franchise and the terms of the settlement agreement to determine whether a violation exists,” said Susan Straub, a spokeswoman for the city.

The settlement agreement said Charter “expects to maintain the existing employee base in the Lexington area after Charter acquires control of franchisee” which was formerly held by Time Warner. It went on to say that those employees should be maintained “throughout the term of the franchise, with the hope of increasing its employee base in the Lexington area during that time.”

Pedelty did not immediately comment on how many employees would remain in Lexington after the layoffs.

“This is the second piece of bad news for Lexington since Charter-Spectrum took over. We were led to believe that they would invest in Lexington, but it sounds like they are doing the opposite,” Straub said.

Fernando Alfonso III: 859-231-1324, @fernalfonso