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Guest Opinion: Kangas speaks out about Crow Wing Power

In light of some recent newspaper opinion letters, I wanted to speak to the issues brought forth. The board of directors for Crow Wing Power is very proud of the many business opportunities undertaken that have all reaped great benefits for our members. One of the questions at hand appears to be compensation the board received for the 2006 sale of Hunt Technologies.

That undertaking was very important for Crow Wing Power, the local economy and 200 Hunt Technologies employees. Hunt Technologies was on the verge of bank repossession in 2000. The business produced meters for Crow Wing Power. We took over the management and worked diligently for six years to turn it around —a challenging risk/reward endeavor.

Monthly Hunt board meetings were filled with anxiety—could we turn this company around? The board received no compensation for the six years of "extra" work on the Hunt board. When we sold the company, we made millions of dollars for the cooperative—$12 million in capital credits returned to members; improved service with increased right of way clearing; plant improvements and rate stabilization.

Did the Hunt Board directors receive compensation for the extra work? Yes. We were offered $70,000 for the six years of work. (Directors receive an average $16,000 annually for the normal Crow Wing Power work we do.) The immensity of this endeavor warranted compensation for those who accepted it. Two board members chose not to receive it—Gordon Martin because he felt he was amply compensated and Dwight Thiesse.

A non-disclosure agreement required by the buyer limited disclosure of information at that time.

I'm writing to tell the public that all business opportunities we have pursued have been done in the best interest of our members. There were no wrong doings. I'm proud to serve on this board and will continue to hold my head high, despite what a handful of people that don't know the big picture are saying. I encourage anyone with questions to call me.

Kangas is president of the Crow Wing Power Board of Directors

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