By Paul Erickson, CEO
Sangre de Cristo Electric Association, Inc. will hold its annual meeting beginning at 10 a.m. June 20 at Cliff Lanes in Westcliffe. Doors will open at 9 a.m. if you’d like to get there early, register and visit.
Why do we host this necessary but boring (to some) meeting each year?
SDCEA is an electric cooperative. A cooperative is a private business organization that is owned and controlled by the people who use its products, supplies and services. If you are an account holder at SDCEA in good standing, you are one of the part-owners or “members” of this cooperative.
As a cooperative, SDCEA is obligated to follow its Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws which are the organizational documents of our business and the business policies enacted by our board, whom members elect from the general membership.
Annual Meeting. The annual meeting is required in SDCEA’s Articles and Bylaws to be held in June each year to elect board members, present financial reports from the previous fiscal year, and to transact other business that may come before the membership. So, it’s as simple as that — the meeting is required as part of our legal business structure. The meeting is a crucial component of providing our members a designated, open, organized opportunity to express their opinions about the governance and policies of SDCEA.
Directors. When a director’s seat is contested, members will be sent ballots in advance of the annual meeting to fill out and return by a set deadline. Votes are tallied and combined with those who vote in person at the annual meeting. Board candidates with the most votes in their respective races win the election.
On June 20, two candidates will be elected to three-year terms by the members of the cooperative. Directors are democratically-elected in this process to represent how to best meet consumers’ needs and to establish the ongoing business policies of SDCEA that will be carried out by SDCEA’s management and staff.
The seven-member board of directors that govern your cooperative geographically represent Chaffee, Fremont, Saguache, Custer and Lake counties; and the town of Buena Vista. Board seats in Fremont and Custer counties are up for election this year.
Financial Reports. The 2018 financial report will be presented. This report will cover SDCEA’s year-over-year balance sheet, operating revenue and expenditures and comparative statistics. This report will also be included in next month’s edition of Colorado Country Life, if you’d like to view it here.
Other Business. Board President Joe Redetzke and I, the CEO, will give reports to those in attendance about this cooperative and plans for the future. Guest speakers will discuss the energy industry. Audience members are encouraged to pose questions to the board and to guest speakers. Members may visit with their directors and employees and ask any questions they may have.
For the past several years, Sangre de Cristo Electric’s annual meetings have broken tradition and have been a “Business Only” format.
For decades, electric cooperatives have held parties along with their annual meetings. Born of the late 1930s and early 40s, these meetings were the perfect forum for rural neighbors to get together and have some fun, while voting on directors, spending and other business. There was no internet, no rapid information; the only way to conduct business was through these annual events.
Today, many co-ops still maintain the party atmosphere that has traditionally been associated with co-ops. Some of these meetings can cost upwards of $100,000.
Not so at SDCEA. At our meeting, we promise not to waste your time with cheesy entertainment and multiple distractions. At our meeting, we promise not to waste your money with expensive door prizes, giveaways, and a meal that you probably would not purchase for yourself on your own. What
we do promise is that at our meeting we will give you straight talk about your cooperative, and real information with ample time for discussion and Q&A.
The annual meeting is an opportunity to meet some of our staff here and witness the inner business workings of SDCEA. If you are not able to join us, you are welcome to contact us with questions about the cooperative any time. Don’t wait for the annual meeting to get your questions answered.