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Blanco County News
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PEC election season opens
Wednesday, February 11, 2009 • Posted February 10, 2009

Three of the seven seats on the Pedernales Electric Cooperative Board of Directors are up for election this spring. On Monday, incumbent Director Patrick Cox of Wimberley announced he will seek re-election to the District 7 seat.

Since being elected last year to fill the unexpired District 7 term of former board president Bud Burnett encompassing the Kyle and Buda area, Cox has been a leader in seeking reforms at PEC. Cox said he is “seeking reelection to further the achievements of the past year” and will “continue efforts to eliminate unnecessary expense and wasteful practices while providing accountability and transparency.”

Besides District 7, positions up for election in 2009 are for District 1, encompassing the cities of Marble Falls, Burnet and Bertram, and District 6, which includes part of the City of Blanco and a large area extending southeast from Blanco. District 1 incumbent Vi Cloud of Marble Falls and District 6 incumbent Val Smith of Blanco did not return calls asking about their plans to seek re-election. Smith has served on the PEC board since 1983 and Cloud has served as a director since 1994.

The PEC Board of Directors amended the cooperative’s bylaws last month to eliminate all advisory director positions as of June 2009. Dr. Charles Tesar of Blanco was elected as advisory director from District 6 last year and championed the elimination of advisory director positions, including his own, since he viewed the non-voting positions as “at best ceremonial.”

In response to this reporter’s inquiry on Monday, Tesar said he will run for the District 6 director position. “If elected to the voting post, I will continue my aggressive posture in ferreting out wrong-doing, fostering improvements in PEC performance, and supporting innovations in energy procurement and conservation.”

Candidates must reside in the district they are running in, but voting will be at-large again for this election cycle. Each PEC member will be able to cast one vote in each of the races, regardless of the number of meters owned by the member. In past years, a member could cast a vote for each meter in co-op elections.

PEC has made nomination-by-petition materials available on its web site, www.pec.coop, for members interested in running for a position on the utility’s board of directors. Members may also call PEC toll-free at 1-888-554-4732 to have the petition materials mailed to them, or they can drop by any Pedernales Electric office to request the forms in person.

The materials include instructions for submitting biographical information, nomination requirements, a background verification authorization form, sheets for collecting member signatures and a map showing the recently revised director districts.

PEC Communications Manager Anne Harvey explained that the district boundaries do not always coincide with city or county boundaries, and often follow physical and geographic landmarks such as major roads and rivers. Part of the City of Blanco is in District 5 and part is in District 6. Harvey said members who wish to run for a director position and are uncertain of their district should call PEC for more information.

Completed nomination petitions must be postmarked or received by PEC by April 6 for candidates to be eligible for the election, which will conclude at the cooperative’s June 20 annual membership meeting. Incumbent directors seeking re-election are required to complete the petition process.

“Last year’s election demonstrated our desire to have open and democratic elections, and the participation from the membership was wonderful,” said PEC General Manager Juan Garza. “Our commitment to democracy remains true for 2009, and we believe our nomination procedure for directors is one of the most open processes in the country.”

PEC plans to mail ballots to PEC members in May. As in 2008, PEC has hired Election Services Corporation, an independent election services provider, to distribute, receive and tabulate ballots and handle other election matters. PEC members will be able to vote for the candidates of their choosing by mail, online or in person at the annual meeting.

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