Members of Whetstone Valley Electric will cast their vote for directors and a proposed bylaw amendment on term limits during the cooperative’s annual meeting Thursday, March 31. Three director seats are up for election.
Qualified member candidates have been nominated. Running for District 7, serving Grant Center and Alban townships, are Nancy Johnson and Joel Adler. Fighting for the District 8 seat, serving Stockholm, Madison, and Vernon townships, will be Krista Atyeo-Gortmaker and Vincent Meyer. Paul Nelson is unopposed for District 9, serving Adams, Waverly, Troy, Antelope Valley, and Georgia townships.
A proposed bylaw amendment was conceived from a petition circulated by a member of the cooperative and signed by at least 25 co-op members. “The proposed bylaw amendment would change the number of consecutive terms a director can serve to five and the number of consecutive years to 15,” stated Whetstone Valley Electric General Manager Dave Page. “Currently a director can serve three consecutive terms or nine consecutive years.” The amendment also adds the words “or elected” to provide for the election of candidates to fill a vacancy in the board as stated in Article IV, Section 7.
Page also explained director nominations, elections, and terms. Whetstone Valley Electric Cooperative has nine directors, each serving distinct areas. Directors are elected for a term of three years. Each year, three district seats are open for election. The cooperative’s bylaws allow for nominations by a petition submitted with the signatures of six or more members of the district where the candidate lives. Petitions must be submitted to the secretary, not less than 40 days prior to the annual meeting. The current director term limits were introduced by a petition and voted in at the annual meeting held March 2004. Terms of all the directors at that time have expired.
“Due to the structure of rural electric cooperatives and their sister organizations, longevity on a board of directors offers an opportunity to gain influence in related organizations,” said Page. “It is only through serving an extended period of time that a representative from the cooperative gains positions of influence in organizations such as East River Electric Power Cooperative, Basin Electric Cooperative, and regional and national associations.”
Page went on to say, it takes time to learn the business of the local cooperative and the system of cooperatives that provide distribution, transmission, and generation. It takes longer to get a good understanding of the industry as it relates to state, regional, and national legislation and regulation.
“The industry is changing rapidly,” he stated. “Environmental regulations, cost of electric generation, and renewable energy such as wind and solar are being implemented by our power suppliers and members.”
The process of bringing information to new directors is very important and takes time. Directors travel to take courses and build relationships with other cooperatives and industry partners. Knowledge of the cooperative’s past also helps to make good decisions for the future. Not only is it important to know what happened in the past, but also to know why and how past decisions were made.
“This cooperative is fortunate to have dedicated and well-informed directors who have invested their time and the cooperative’s financial resources to become knowledgeable leaders of the cooperative,” Page said. “I commend our directors and all member candidates who are willing to accept the important responsibility of leading the cooperative in a rapidly changing industry and representing the cooperative locally, regionally, and nationally.”
The cooperative’s annual meeting is set for Thursday, March 31, at the Milbank High School gymnasium. Dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m. and the meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. The board of directors will be introduced. Minutes from the 2015 annual meeting will be read, a treasurer’s report and Page’s manager’s report will be given. Voting will take place for the three new directors. Employees will be honored with awards and a drawing for prizes will be held. The grand prize is $500 cash.
Families are encouraged to attend and bring their kids for a specially designed children’s program. The program begins at 6:30 p.m. and includes projects, games, and snacks. A girls’ and a boys’ bike will be given away. Children 12 and younger are eligible to win.
“Please consider attending this year’s annual membership meeting,” stated Page. “Come, cast your vote, hear important business reports, and enjoy a meal and the fellowship of your neighbors and friends.”