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PEC hires firm for 2008 audit, considers measures to enhance member rights
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 • Posted April 28, 2009

PEC Press Release - The Pedernales Electric Cooperative Board of Directors voted on Monday, April 20, to hire the Houston-based accounting firm BKD to conduct an audit of PEC’s financial statements for the 2008 fiscal year.

The Audit Committee’s search included 10 firms, and BKD submitted the lowest bid at $78,500. Upon the recommendation of the Audit Committee, the Board agreed to a three-year contract. BKD, which has offices in Houston and San Antonio, estimated the cost of the audit would increase 3 percent to 5 percent annually over the life of the agreement. PEC holds an option to end the contract after the first year if it is not satisfied with the firm’s performance.

Also on Monday, the Board referred several items to the Bylaws Committee regarding members’ rights on open meetings, records and elections. The Bylaws Committee will look into proposed amendments to PEC’s Open Meetings Policy, its Open Records Policy and the Nominations section of the Cooperative’s bylaws. If the Board approves these proposed amendments in their current forms, it would give the membership the sole authority to amend these policies in the future. The Bylaws Committee also will begin establishing a formal process for selecting Advisory Directors-at-Large.

The Board approved a one-year contract extension of the power supply agreement with AEP Energy Partners for the Freiss Ranch, Barksdale and Rocksprings delivery points located in the Junction District. The contract establishes a fixed price energy charge and will go into effect May 1 and expire April 30, 2010. This purchase represents less than 1 percent of PEC’s total electric energy purchases.

Eleven PEC members who have qualified to run in the upcoming Board election were announced. Members will elect Directors for District 1, District 6 and District 7. Listed by district and in the order they will appear on the ballot, the candidates are:

·Director, District 1: Mark A. Mayfield, Bill Wilcox, Cristi Clement and Sandra P. “Sandy” Jenkins

·Director, District 6: Theresa Rourke, Larry Landaker, Linda Kaye Rogers, Robbi Boone, David Bethancourt and Daryl Losaw

·Director, District 7: Patrick Cox, Ph.D.

In a vote that affects those candidates, the Board approved a resolution that states “ … members may not engage in active electioneering within PEC facilities, and within the premises of a meeting of Directors or Members conducted under the Bylaws.” The resolution does not prevent candidates from speaking during the public comment portions of Board meetings.

The Board also revised PEC’s bylaws to increase the number of members eligible for open seats in future elections. Previously, former Cooperative employees and former employees and directors of PEC power suppliers could not run in Board elections. That restriction has been lifted as long as the candidate’s tenure with PEC or its power suppliers ended at least one year before the candidate would take office.

PEC Deputy General Manager Paul Hilgers updated the Board on options suggested by Cooperative staff following member feedback on the independent rates study conducted by C.H. Guernsey & Company. The Board announced a special called meeting at 1pm on May 11 at PEC headquarters in Johnson City. The meeting will focus on PEC’s rates and its rates structure, although the Board might not take any action at the May 11 meeting.

Also at Monday’s meeting:

·The Board approved revisions to PEC’s expense reimbursement and travel policy for employees.

·The Board decided that, later this year, PEC will no longer give toys to members who pay their bills in person and instead will offer members compact fluorescent light bulbs to encourage conservation.

·The Board voted to award one door prize at the PEC Annual Membership Meeting on June 20.

·The Board established a new Tuition Reimbursement Policy that will enable employees to obtain “job-related education and certification.”

·The Board approved a policy to protect and respect the privacy and confidentiality of its members’ information.

·The Board approved revisions to how it will assess the job performance of employees.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, the Board heard members express their opinions pertaining to a lawsuit filed by members in 2007 and that the Board settled more than a year ago. One member questioned whether or not the Cooperative should be giving money to charity while it is also considering a rate change, but another voiced support for PEC’s long-standing tradition of giving back to the communities it serves. One member stated his opinion that members of the Board should remember they are always representing PEC when they speak in public. The other member who spoke Monday expressed support for legislation regarding Texas electric cooperatives that was authored by State Senator Troy Fraser and Representative Patrick Rose. She said this legislation would ensure that the Board couldn’t reverse some of the reforms it has enacted over the past two years.

General Manager Juan Garza assured her that the measures currently before the Bylaws Committee would make these reforms permanent unless a majority of members voted to change them.

In addition to the May 11 special called meeting, the Board also approved its regular monthly meeting, which will be held on May 18. That meeting will begin at 10:00am in the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin.

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