Letters to the Editor

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Need to turn the lights on

Editor:
It is increasingly difficult to keep from raising a topic that’s looming over the exploits of the high-handed board of trustees at the Socorro Electric Co-op. The events described in the Defensor-Chieftain of Dec. 30 lower the discourse to a new low. Charlie Wagner being accused of sexual harassment or discrimination of a Cooperative employee is borderline ludicrous.
There are years of records showing the exorbitant spending of co-op funds by “trustees.” A term we must use liberally in application to this outgoing board. Among trustees, only Mr. Wagner has stood up to the secretive, exploitative methods carried on by board officers. The accounting that reaches the light of day, if we can rely on it’s accuracy, describes a pattern of fiscal irresponsibility that makes our co-op the laughing-stock of New Mexico. How far the hoots and howls go beyond our state is an uncomfortable topic, too.
Without Mr. Wagner’s staunch opposition to the continuation of the excesses obviously enjoyed by the trustees, there would be no change for the better. A large majority of the trustees have made every effort to vilify Wagner and paint him as an obstructionist. Their desire to eliminate any voice that might force them to change their profligate ways is only too easily understood. Now, there seems to be a plot afoot to smear Wagner by any stretch remotely at hand. Desperate measures?
If we must talk discrimination, then let’s get to the heart of the matter. Those of us commonly called “outsiders” might have a legitimate interest in knowing why the ethnic distribution of employees at the co-op is so steeply inclined to favor Hispanics and leave “outsiders” in a minority. As an “outsider” who is also Hispanic, I would welcome a review by federal officials to clear the air on all the controversy we’ve witnessed and that which might be brought to light. Are the hiring practices at the Socorro Electric Co-op able to stand official, independent scrutiny?
It’s not clear that “outsiders” are fairly considered for positions at the co-op, nor are they going to have a fair path to advancement. I suspect that’s a topic for “executive session” and something we’ll have to speculate about as co-op members without rights.

Herbert Myers
Socorro