Letter to the Editor

Letters to the editor

Thursday, June 2, 2005

Co-op elections coming soon

Dear editor:

We would like to make a few comments concerning the articles in the local newspapers relating to the Sack Osage Elecric Co-op. These were placed by Pat Crane, president, and Gilbert Willson, vice-president, of the Sac Osage Electric Co-op Board of Directors.

To qualify the term, "self appointed committee." This is a group of concerned co-op members who have lived and worked in the area served by our co-op most of their lives. At the end of this letter we will give our members' names and a short biography.

We want to refer you to the comments made by Mr. Crane and Mr. Willson concerning compensation. This committee believes $250 is reasonable compensation. We have worked this amendment so that future setting and/or changing of board compensation will be made by the members and not the board.

The big savings that Mr. Willson alluded to from dropping off the co-op's employee insurance plan was negated by raising their board attendance pay to $600 for their monthly business meeting. It doesn't surprise us that the national compensation average isn't what Mr. Willson referred it to be. If all of our nation's co-op boards have the same mind set as this one, pay me and I'll serve, keep the members in the dark. We will run the show. We certainly do not want a supplemental retirement check extracted from our monthly light bill. We ask you to vote "for" the amendment to change the compensation to $250 for first meeting and $50 thereafter. You need to check out the position of your new board member candidates in your area before you "X" your ballot. If you want more of the same, rest assured, they are on the ballot.

As promised, here are the members of the, "self appointed committee," for By-law and Board Member Reform:"

Ralph Zartman: lifelong member, cattle farmer, retired supervisor of 3M. Ralph submitted the proposal for term limits approved by the members at the 2004 annual meeting.

Donald Hertzberg: born and raised in Cedar County, graduated from El Dorado Springs High School, earned a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from Rolla School of Mines, is a licensed professional engineer; and retired from D.O.T. North Area, District 7, as chief engineer.

Joe Norval: life long member, was a dry wall finisher for many years and owns and operates a cattle ranch in St. Clair County.

Jim Pope: lifelong member, El Dorado Springs graduate, owns and operates a cattle farm in Cedar County.

Bob Hutchison: lifelong member, born in Vernon County, Korean Veteran, farmer and cattle rancher. Bob has served on FSA Board Chairman, Vernon County Extension Board, Vernon County Water District and Walker School Board.

Maurice Fugate: lifelong member, El Dorado Springs graduate with a bachelor of science degree in agriculture major in soils at MU, worked 10 years as soil conservation service director at various locations in Missouri.

He now resides on a cattle farm in Cedar County and operates an insurance agency in El Dorado Springs.

Don McCormick: graduated from El Dorado Springs, received a bachelor of science degree from Central Missouri State with a double major in science and physics.

He was an engineer for the NASA project before moving back to El Dorado Springs to retire.

Mike Bruce: lifelong resident in Vernon County, owns and operates a row crop and cattle farm. He received a bachelor of arts degree in education from College of the Ozarks.

He was a teacher and principal at the Walker School for 10 years and an engineer for Fram in Nevada. Bruce is a candidate for board member in District 5. Check him out.

Ronald Hubbard: is a lifelong member and a resident of Cedar County.

He graduated from El Dorado Springs, worked 16 years for KAMO Electric Co-op as material clerk and chief dispatcher; was a nursing home administrator in Lowry City for a short period. He built and operated a mobile home park on M- 32 and operated a feeder pig and cattle farm.

He has served on Cedar County Water District and Bible School Boards. Hubbard submitted the supporting statement for proposed amendment to enact term limits for board members in June 2004.

Foot note: You have probably noticed an extra sheet of information in your ballot packet. We would call this information electioneering. Which, if not illegal, it is taking unfair advantage by using a co-op vehicle, to state the board's position. But, as one co-op board member put it, it's all about the money.

Also some members have reported to our committee they are some what confused as to the voting ballot.

We suggest a vote "for" on Amendment No. 1, a vote "against" on Amendment No. 2 and a vote "for" on Amendment No. 3. If you have wrongly stated your vote on your yellow ballot sheet, you may acquire another at the co-op office.

Sign your ballot envelope and print your name. Mail, or better yet, bring it to the annual meeting June 14.

See you at the polls.

Committee for Bylaw and Board Reform,

Ronald Hubbard


Here is more information provided by the commmittee on its position relating to the issues:

The 2005 annual meeting of Sac Osage Electric Cooperative, (which serves customers in Cedar, Vernon, St. Clair, Hickory, Dade, Polk, Henry, Barton and Benton counties) is to be held Tuesday, June 14.

The underlying and most important, cause of all the discussion and meetings since the annual meeting was the enactment of term limits for board members voted by the patrons at the June 2004 meeting. There was an attempt that night, submitted in a motion from a member from District No. 5, to amend the amendment. After a long and drawn out registration and vote, it failed and the term limit stood.

A short time later, each board member selected members from their district and called a special meeting to, as they put it, "review the by-laws and how to get more participation at annual meetings." From that meeting, each board member selected two members to serve on a "Committee to Review the ByLaws." Ron Hubbard, a member of the Committee for By-Law and Board Members Reform, volunteered.

Hubbard said, "From the outset, it was apparent where we were heading as the article pertaining to election and tenure of directors was taken out of rotation to be discussed last."

Out of this committee meeting came three amendments we will vote on at our annual meeting in June.

The Reform Committee would like to make the following comments pertaining to these three proposed amendments, and a 4th amendment proposed by the Reform Committee:

1. Amendment Article 6, Section 10, which relates to deleting "and close relatives of directors." We would suggest a YES vote to delete.

2. Article 7 -- amendments relating to any alteration, amendment or repeal of a by-law. This change would make it virtually impossible for you, the members, to have any input in the governance of the Cooperative. Imagine getting the certified signatures of 2 percent of 8,679, Sac Osage Cooperative, but more than that the 2 percent must come equally from each of the nine districts.

The By-Law Review Committee submitted a recomendation to the, Board of Directors of signatures of 1 percent of the total membership.

We would strongly recommend that you consider, a NO vote.

3. On the proposal for the Cooperative to mail first class the notice of annual meetings, we have discussed the benefit versus cost, as we're sure management has, and it's probably an unknown. But we believe the back page of the Rural Missouri magazine is the best method due to cost. Do the arithmetic of 37 cents multiplied by 8,600 members. That's for letter weight. The sending of these ballots and information will be much more. Then add the cost of the postage for return ballots and you'll see where we are coming frorn.

We believe members who are interested in the Cooperative as an organization for Rural Missouri will participate in attendance and ballots. Area newspaper notices would help.

We strongly recommend you consider a NO vote on the first class mail amendment.

4. In the ballot package is a fourth amendment proposed by the Committee for By-Law and Board Member Reform pertaining to compensation of directors. It states "Compensation of Directors shall, as determined by resolution of Board of Directors, receive on a per diem basis a fixed fee not to exceed $250 for the first meeting of each month and not to exceed $50 for any additional meeting in the same month."

Director's presently receive $600 for first meetings and $100 for additional meetings in each month. We would ask that you, vote for this amendment. We denied the opportunity of placing this proposed amendment on the back page of the May or June issue of the Rural Missouri magazine.

We appreciate your taking the time to carefully read this article. Before you cast your ballot for Board Directors in your district, please ask that person where he or she stands on these amendments. Join with us, the Committee for By-law and Board Member Reform, and let's put the governance of Sac Osage Electric Cooperative back in the hands of the members. This reform is not only important to our individual cooperatives here in Missouri, but it has the same connotation for our power proivider in Oklahoma and its marketing cooperative in Springfield. Would you spend a day as a board representative in Springfield, for $1,600? This type of mind set is what we are referring to.

Are we losing sight of the big picture? This is the Director's Creed to which new Sac Osage Electric board members pledge: "The mission of this cooperative is to provide its members needed electric, energy services of the highest, and most dependable quality -- at the lowest cost consistent with sound business principles."