Letters to theEditor (08/04/2012)

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SEC following by-laws, state regs

Editor,
I read Charlie Wagner’s July 25 Chieftain guest columnist article in letters to the editor, “Co-op member’s rights obstructed?” with disappointment. Mr. Wagner’s article suggests there is confusion about how Socorro Electric Cooperative, Inc. By-laws are to be amended. I’m glad to take this opportunity to set the record straight.
First, the article suggests that the co-op’s by-laws conflict with state law. This is not true. To amend a by-law, the co-op by-laws require that a copy of the proposed amendment must be included in the notice of the meeting provided to co-op membership. This allows our members to have notice of the amendment before the meeting. The membership will be asked to vote on the proposed by-law change at the meeting during registration. The notice gives our membership the opportunity to decide for themselves how they want to vote on the proposed change to the by-law. One of the many functions of the annual meeting is to consider by-laws changes that were distributed to the membership in a notice before the annual meeting. Another function of the annual meeting is to allow proposed amendments from the floor to the by-laws to be accepted and voted on from the attending membership for consideration at the next annual meeting. State law does not require an electric cooperative to allow proposed amendment to by-laws be accepted from the floor in the heat of an annual meeting and be affective once the annual meeting has been adjourned.
Second, the article suggests that there is no need to adhere to the co-op by-law requiring a copy of the proposed amendment be included in the notice of the annual meeting to the members. That by-law — a rule voted on and approved long ago by the membership — governs how amendments to by-laws may be proposed and voted on. Action on amendments to the by-law cannot be taken prior to providing notice to the entire membership of the proposed by-law change. Past leadership of the co-op determined that a matter as important as by-law changes deserved thoughtful consideration by each member and all the membership should not be rushed to make a decision on the fly during the heat of an annual meeting. This by-law, Article XIII, Amendments, appears on our website (www.socorroelectric.com), and it does not conflict with state law.
Paul J. Bustamante, President
Socorro Electric Cooperative, Inc.