Co-op meeting continued

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During the May 22 Socorro County Electric Cooperative board of trustees meeting, several trustees questioned the validity of the annual meeting vote to reconvene the meeting on the second Saturday of June. However, on May 24 co-op manager Joseph Herrera confirmed by email there will be a membership meeting held June 8.

Since the annual meeting, according to co-op attorney Lorna Wiggins, lost its quorum before the end of the meeting, trustee Charlie Wagner made a motion at the annual meeting to continue the meeting on the second Saturday in June. His motion was overwhelmingly passed by the members present.

On May 22 trustee Priscilla Mauldin said Wagner broke all the rules at the annual meeting by standing up and “taking over the meeting” without being recognized.

“So anything he said to members and voted on was not legal,” she said. “There can be no vote to have a meeting in June.”

Trustee Don Wolberg said Wagner was not registered to vote at the meeting and so he couldn’t make a motion.

Trustee David Wade asked if a meeting participant has to be a registered member to make a motion at the annual meeting, and Wiggins said she thinks the board has established that.

The first order of business at a meeting is to register.

Wagner said his wife performed the registration; the couple have a joint membership. He also said he has the right to speak as a trustee.

Wagner continued speaking to clarify his statement but board president Luis Aguilar overran Wagner’s words, saying the meeting would move on to the next item.

Wagner said he thinks it is important to address the issue of holding a meeting in June, but Aguilar continued to talk over him.

Also during the May 22 meeting trustee Ann Dorough said she thinks the trustees need to work to straighten out some issues with the members.

“I think we have a mess and we as a board, along with our attorney, caused the mess,” Dorough said.

Dorough said when three amendments were passed at the 2012 annual meeting, the attorney told the members they would have to vote on those amendments at the 2013 annual meeting, but nothing was said at the time about the amendment for mail-in ballots counting as part of a quorum being illegal.

During the year, she continued, the bylaw committee met several times, during some of which the attorney was present, and nothing was said about that bylaw amendment being illegal.

“The amendment was published in Enchantment and in the Chieftain,” Dorough said. “Only after the amendment was passed and the membership wanted to take advantage of it did the attorney jump up and declare it invalid. I think the members have every right to be angry, and I think we need to have a plan in mind to rectify this situation before the June continuation.”

“It was explained at the 2012 meeting any resolution from the floor would be considered because it has to be published,” Wiggins responded.

She said unless the board or general manager asks the legal counsel to do a legal review or analysis of the bylaws, they don’t.

“We are not in-house council for you,” Wiggins said.

She said when she attended the co-op bylaw committee meetings, she was asked to do an analysis of District V recommendations.

“When the issue (of the legality of the quorum) came up, the parliamentarian looked to me and asked if it was consistent with state law,” Wiggins said. “At that point we pulled out the state law … quorum has typically meant ‘people in a room.’”