Letters to the Editor (02/11/2012)

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We’re paying for more than just electricity
Editor:
This letter is in regard to the article that appeared in the Feb. 1, 2012, edition of El Defensor Chieftain about Socorro Electric Cooperative’s effort to have the countersuit filed against it dismissed.
Of course, in line with past shenanigans, the co-op desires dismissal of member-owners’ countersuit because the countersuit seeks to expose the magnitude of funds suspected of having been “picked” from member-owner pockets.
Immediately upon being faced with a bevy of bylaw change proposals in December 2009 to correct perceived abuses, co-op trustees embarked upon a program to thwart those changes at the ballot box. Having failed there, they, on June 29, 2010, filed a lawsuit against member-owners attempting to squelch those changes in a court of law. That too, subsequently failed.
On July 22, 2010, I personally filed a response with the district court that included a previously circulated computer printout copy reflecting that in 2009 the co-op’s 11 trustees incurred expenses totaling $492,066, for an average take of $44,733 each with a request that those and past trustee expenditures be evaluated in terms of justification. It seems that such amounts greatly exceed New Mexico’s statewide averages paid to other co-op trustees.
On Jan. 25, 2012 an affidavit executed by Cooperative’s General Manager Joseph Herrera, outing District 5 Trustee Charles Wagner was filed with the same district court “indicating” similar financial divisions in the three preceding years, 2006, 2007 and 2008.
So, assuming that during each year of the 25 years that your author has been a member-owner, the co-op’s trustees received similar amounts, the total exceeds millions and millions of dollars.
Think! After paying a trustee-selected and hired general manager a healthy dollar salary to manage a small, rather insignificant 37 employee electric distribution system, we member-owners may have been further required to pay 11 trustees millions more to finance who knows what. Member-owners need to look at this in terms of the co-op’s current outstanding debt.
Question: Have member-owner pocket’s been “picked”? There are those whose education, training and experience cause them to think so.
Alvin B. Hickox
San Antonio