Thursday, August 08, 2013
I’d rather be a lineman working in the middle of a storm than have the Public Relations spokesperson job with Carroll Electric. In a recent Eureka Independent news article Nancy Plagge really had to spin the facts to make her employer seem like a true co-operative that welcomes members’ input!
The facts, I believe, show the opposite is true. Only the annual member meeting is “open” to members; board meetings the rest of the year are closed and board minutes are not available. And “open” with regards to the annual meeting is a joke! We members have had to pass through a checkpoint with security guards, as you might expect at a border crossing into a not-too-friendly country! Our belongings were examined and we have had to sign an agreement stating we will not speak (at our own meeting) and are prohibited from recording the meeting (no press either). Then we sit passively while the highly paid CEO gives a brief spiel on what a great job they’re doing. So much for member input.
Theoretically, members have input through board members from their district, elected by the members. In reality, board members just keep re-electing each other for these lucrative part-time positions. This is possible due to increasingly restrictive bylaws (done by the board without member input!) that have it made it nearly impossible for a member to get on the ballot.
This was illustrated a few years ago when a Carroll County member had over a thousand signatures (from all nine districts), well over the requirement. However, she purportedly fell short by a few signatures in one district that were thrown out for some reason, and she was not allowed to review the board’s determination ‘til after ballots were sent out. Thus the long-standing board member for that district was “re-elected” by the board.
Seems to me that electric companies, including SWEPCO, talk a good game about public service but they are just big corporations bent on maximum profit. How did they end up with so much power? We need to keep speaking out for our rights, even though it may seem futile at times. I should note that I think the electric company employees in the office and on the ground do a great job – I wouldn’t want to be a line-person even in the best weather! It’s just upper management that is out of touch.
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