Co-op meeting redux

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During the Dec. 28 meeting of the Socorro Electric Cooperative, trustees voted to resubmit all the previously proposed resolutions to the 2013 annual meeting, that failed to pass during the 2012 meeting.

The suggestion to bring the resolutions to the meeting was made by the co-op’s bylaw committee, as was an additional resolution to increase a quorum of the membership to 5 percent where currently a quorum consists of 3 percent of the membership.

Trustee Prescilla Mauldin asked why the committee felt like it needs to raise the quorum to 5 percent.

Trustee Donald Wolberg said it is difficult to see where democracy is served if only three out of 100 people can determine what is right for everybody. He added that 5 percent is not that much better, but it is almost twice as good.

Wolberg suggested that certain groups that don’t represent the whole membership could be “falsely manipulating a miniscule quorum size.”

In a vote to accept the bylaw committee’s suggestions, the trustees voted in favor of the recommendations with trustees Charlie Wagner and Mauldin both voting “no.”

The bylaws recommended by the trustees at last year’s meeting, which will be added to this year’s annual meeting agenda, include an increase in the size of the board (still in the process of being reduced to five members) to seven members, with two additional members elected to at-large positions at the annual meeting; raising the cap of trustee compensation to no more than 1 percent of revenues; and allowing the board to make financial and in-kind contributions to nonprofit corporations within the co-op’s service area where appropriate.

Other resolutions include amendments that revise or correct terminology to existing bylaws to clarify language; revisions that would substantially change bylaws and a few new bylaws.

As happened last year, a contingent of member-owners of Socorro Electric are opposed to the changes, which they say will effectively undo what members voted for in 2010 when a bevy of reform-related resolutions were passed by overwhelming margins. Trustees argued some of those new bylaws are too restrictive and the board cannot operate effectively and in the best interest of members unless they are changed.

During the District 5 meeting, held Oct. 27, 2012, member-owners voted to bring several more resolutions to the table at the annual meeting.

Among those District 5 resolutions are revisions to bylaws involving member meetings, trustees, trustee meetings, officers, donations and compensation for trustees.

Trustee David Wade attended the District 5 meeting and expressed some concern over the proposed changes to the bylaws. Some of the proposed changes will cost more to the co-op, Wade said. In particular he said the proposal for every district to hold an annual meeting would be costly.

“I just want you all to think,” Wade said. “It sounds good. It’s well and good, but it might not be too good down the line when we’re stuck with all these things.”