Letters to the Editor (07/31/14)

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Trustee calls for recall of SEC chair Dorough

The letter signed by Ms. Dorough, chairperson of the SEC Board of Trustees is peculiar, and there is a question as to how much is Ms. Dorough’s opinion and how much the input of the public relations firm hired by the coop’s attorneys and paid with SEC member funds.
The letter implies that the mayor and city council want a hostile takeover of the electric co-op. To the contrary, they have been pushed to consider their action by complaints from members, former employees and members of the business community. Resolutions passed by the city council during the past months set forth the reasons for addressing the matter. These resolutions are available at the city’s website.
In council meetings I attended, council discussions place emphasis on the SEC Board of Trustees duty of care, lack of obedience to SEC Bylaws, oversight of costs and oversight of management, response to consumer concerns, guarantee of a fair, nonthreatening work environment for employees, etc. All are reasonable expectations of consumers who are required to democratically control the coop.
The councilors know that this is done through fair elections, annual district and general meetings of members.
The members have the unlimited right to initiate, debate and approve amendments, repeals to bylaws and articles of incorporation according to law. Comments from members at city council meetings make it clear that hostility arises from the SEC trustees, management and legal advisers.
The general attitude of these three is “We will do what we want; if you don’t like it, take us to court.”
The letter implies erroneously that the lack of a franchise agreement is the problem compounded by the city’s wish for an open forum. An open forum with members present is the only proper way to conduct business. The SEC prefers secrecy and does not want to hear from the member/owners.
The threats are groundless and shoddy in their execution. The sensible approach of a feasibility study on the questions of rates, presently the highest in New Mexico and Colorado according to documents presented by the mayor; legal fees, already extremely high with an additional cost of poor legal rulings from attorneys; and concerns of members outside of the city who are also fed up with the actions of the co-op, is the proper approach.
There is another remedy. During the February SEC Board meeting, Mr. Larry McGraw, USDA Rural Utility Service representative, meeting with members, Mayor Bhasker and other city representatives advised that improper actions of a SEC trustee could be handled by recall.
Ms. Dorough, though elected by District V members, has opposed their best interests by undertaking and working with the attorneys to block a vote of their proposals passed at their 2012 district meeting from being voted on at the 2013 Annual Members Meeting as called for in the SEC Bylaws.
Having no confidence in Ms. Dorough due to adverse actions, the members of her district can remove her as trustee as described in the bylaws and immediately nominate and elect her replacement.
That recall would change the majority on the board and restore the confidence of all members. District V members now knows why it is so important that they act quickly.
Sincerely,

Charlie Wagner
District II Trustee
Socorro Electric Cooperative