[Watchdogs] Pedernales limits terms, ends 'revolving door' [AAS]
milton.hawkins at gmail.com
Thu Nov 18 06:17:37 CST 2010
Pedernales limits terms, ends 'revolving door' Co-op rules touted as
another set of reforms after initial effort failed in February.
By Patrick George<http://www.statesman.com/news/local/pedernales-limits-terms-ends-revolving-door-1055874.html?service=popup&authorContact=1055874&authorContactField=0>
Published: 10:50 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2010
The Pedernales Electric Cooperative board of directors this week unanimously
passed new bylaws that regulate term limits for elected officials and end
"revolving door" practices.
Directors say the revised bylaws for the nation's largest member-owned
electric utility are easier to understand and in line with reforms that have
been under way at the co-op over the past few years.
The changes, approved Monday, include limiting terms for directors to a
maximum of four three-year terms (the old bylaws had no limits); leaving
vacant board seats unfilled until summer co-opwide elections; creating
provisions if a takeover or sale of the co-op is considered; and ending the
"revolving door" practice of permitting board members to become Pedernales
employees or contractors after their terms have ended.
In addition, the board eliminated the practice of having "advisory board
members" — paid, nonvoting directors. The once-17-member board had as many
as 10 advisory directors in the era before a 2007 member-led lawsuit and
increased media scrutiny led to reforms at the co-op. The last advisory
director, Lamont Ramage, stepped down in June.
The board normally has seven members but has had six since Director James
Williams left in September.
"We've cleaned up the whole area of cronyism and appointees," board
President Larry Landaker said.
The revised bylaws kept the practice of electing board members at-large from
across the cooperative's service area, rather than implementing
single-member districts, which some members have suggested.
However, the board decided to let members vote next year to recommend a
system of electing directors that could include single-member districts,
at-large elections or some kind of hybrid. Landaker said the vote will go as
a recommendation to the board, which would likely follow the will of the
A set of revised bylaws had been proposed in February, but they did not pass
the supermajority needed to approve them. The last two remaining members of
the co-op's "old guard" — former Directors O.C. Harmon and R.B. Felps —
voted no. Williams abstained, effectively blocking passage.
"Through these bylaws, we are policing ourselves and future board (members)
from the abuses of the past," Director Patrick Cox said in a statement.
Milton Hawkins , a co-op member and frequent critic, praised the board's
efforts and said approving the new bylaws was a "credit-worthy performance."
pgeorge at statesman.com; 512-392-8750
Find this article at:
Milton Hawkins milton.hawkins at gmail.com
P.O. Box 1502
Johnson City, Texas 78636-1502
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