Letter to the Editor

CE members: Annual meeting is an 'exercise in frustration'

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Soon it will be time for what has become a yearly exercise in frustration (and at times despair): Carroll Electric Cooperative's annual membership meeting (Thursday, May 24 at 10 a.m. at the Berryville fairgrounds).

Many of us have been trying for YEARS to get the Board to actually RESPOND to our questions (about herbicides, capital credits, democratic access, transparency of governance) but they have in the past (literally) turned their backs to us.

We are glad that we finally have a NO SPRAY of herbicides option for the lines on our properties (though only if you have a meter). But this does not address the glaring lack of member access that the Board's By-Laws continue to make a set-in-stone policy.

Last year, the Board members seated themselves in the middle of the arena, and the members were behind metal gates in the bleachers (having had to sign away our right to ask questions during the meeting on pieces of paper we were handed at the entrance, just before we were searched by LOTS of security guards to make sure we didn't bring a camera or recorder in order to record "our" own annual meeting).

Though prior to last year's meeting we mailed in comments and questions on their forms provided, none of these questions were actually addressed in the annual meeting.

We plan to show up again this year (it is our cooperative, though only on paper right now). We haven't given up and we still have a complaint before the Public Service Commission.

But I have an alternative idea for the board -- why not just set up a projector in the middle of the arena and have a pre-recorded message from the board that we can view on a screen by pressing a button. That way they can save money on security and not have to spend any time refusing to answer members' questions. Members could come at a time more convenient than the middle of a work day too and view the video! What a model of democracy!

-- Nan Johnson and

Dave Spencer

Eureka Springs