Co-op questioned during meeting meaning of letter

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The Socorro Electric Cooperative Board of Trustees heard from a disgruntled member/owner then approved the items on its agenda during its regular meeting Oct. 30.

During public comments, Herbert Myers from Socorro said the board came through with an explanation for suing the co-op’s member/owners through a designated spokesman. The spokesman said the board didn’t mean to sue the co-op’s members, Myers said, but they sued the members anyway in order to avoid having to follow the Open Meetings Act.

A guest column by District III trustee Donald Wolberg that was published in the Oct. 24 edition of El Defensor Chieftain states the board “was seeking a judicial review as to the applicability of the Open Meetings Act to a private corporation.”

“Inelegant as it was, they wanted to vanquish the members and continue in their profligate ways with the co-op’s finances,” Myers said.

Myers said the board hired a manager who dismantled the co-op’s previous highly trained and well-qualified staff. In the midst of Myers’ discussion about the dismantled staff, board president and District III Trustee Luis Aguilar stopped him by saying his two minutes were up.

The board moved on to the chairman’s address to the board during which Aguilar acknowledged Wolberg and District V Trustee Anne Dorough whohad completed the requirements for a credential cooperative director course. Aguilar presented Wolberg with a certificate but said he didn’t have Dorough’s certificate, which is expected to arrive in two weeks. The board postponed its executive session until attorney Darin Foster’s arrival; Aguilar explained Foster had car problems. Board members said Foster was scheduled to give a presentation during the executive session.

In other business, the SEC board:

• Approved election officials for districts II and III. Trustee Prescilla Mauldin said the District II meeting is Nov. 9, and Manuel Marcus would be Joey Anaya, and Charles Wagner would be Edmund Fahy. For District III, Mauldin said Leroy Anaya would be Elena Ulibarri, and Melissa Amaro would be Maria Rivera. She said Wolberg did not submit a name, and Prescilla Mauldin is Laura Flores.

• Authorized manager Joseph Herrera to set a board strategic planning session for sometime in February 2014.

• Accepted the SEC manager’s report. Herrera reported September expenditures were $737,993; auto pay for Century Link and Verizon bills were included on the credit card expenditures; operation and maintenance expenses for September were just over $1.6 million, with $1.1 million of that being the co-op’s power bill from TriState; the new person in collections, Carol Dotson, is doing a great job; outage durations have shortened with the milder temperatures, with the longest one happening in the Alamo area; no lost time accidents have happened so far this year; SEC is working on a line extension by Horse Springs, has completed the automated meter reading substation in the Bernardo area and will soon upgrade the Socorro substation; and the SEC received a $37,687 allocation from the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation.

• Accepted the report of applications and cancellations for September. Wolberg said there were no new connections, 120 reconnections and 161 disconnects.

• Heard a trustee report from Wolberg, who said four co-ops have entered the protest against TriState Electric Co-op’s rate increase, but SEC entered as a sideline party. He also said the Taos News reported Kit Carson intends to pull out of TriState.