Co-op election officials chosen

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The Sept. 26 board meeting of the Socorro Electric Cooperative addressed several issues, including inactive account write-offs, pension plans, consideration on the employee grievance policy and matters concerning district door prizes in the upcoming district elections.

At the onset of the meeting, trustee Charlie Wagner said he had a complaint against a management employee and asked that the item be added to the agenda. He said the matter "might take some investigation" and then asked it be added to the agenda for the next monthly meeting. His request was not granted.

During public comments, Socorro district member-owner Herbert Myers addressed the board, saying it had "abandoned its fiduciary responsibilities and pursued an obstinate course of assault on the members it's supposed to serve." Myers took issue with the number of attorneys he has seen at co-op meetings. "We're paying all these attorneys to defend you (the board), and not the members," Meyers said in reference to an existing cross-claim against the co-op board. He added he thought it was wasteful, and not what the attorneys are designed to serve the co-op for. The alleged amount of money per month attorneys are being paid is close to $7,000, but no billing breakdowns have actually been released.

The board then voted to write off $87,000 worth of inactive cable accounts and close to $136,000 worth of inactive energy accounts.

As to the matter of upcoming district elections, District I elections will be held on Oct. 13 and District IV elections on Oct. 6. The board discussed election officials, and in District IV Gayl Dorr requested Kathy Albrecht and David Wade asked for Alex Mechem. In District I, James Bockenstette asked Steve Jones be his election official, and Leo Cordova requested Angie Lovato. The board approved the appointment of all district election officials.

The board then discussed the matter of pole attachment, with Manager Joseph Herrera stating that the cost per pole was $12, and the overall rate for pole attachment had come in well under the $3 million allotted. He added that in some places, pole attachment costs per pole can be as high as $30 per pole.

Earlier this year, in April, at the annual meeting, door prizes and cash were being offered. The door prizes were allegedly donated by local merchants and the cash prizes came from co-op funds, and when the discussion came up at Wednesday's meeting, Wagner moved that no door prizes or cash giveaways should be allowed at district elections. He said it's a way of taking what belongs to all members of the co-op and giving it to just a few.

"That just doesn't seem right, and it runs up our expenses." The vote to abstain from distributing failed, with three members voting in favor of the motion and four members voting against. Thus, the board voted not to refrain from the practice of distributing door prizes.

In other business, the employee grievance policy was approved, as was the renewable energy study agreement. According to a story in the June 6 edition of El Defensor Chieftain, Renewable Energy Credits are awarded to customers who have invested in renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power generators. The program, which was temporarily suspended earlier this year, offers credit to customers who produce more energy than they use from the co-op. Checks are issued once the credit amount exceeds $50.

Herrera reported no lost time in regard to safety, 18 new connects and 151 disconnects.

The next monthly meeting for the electric co-op will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 24.