Letter to the Editor

Carroll Electric members comment on upcoming annual meeting, issues

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Several folks have inquired about the status of our complaint against Carroll Electric currently before the Arkansas Public Service Commission. Unfortunately, there is no news to report. The APSC does not have deadlines for hearing complaints and may do so at their pleasure. We continue to urge those concerned to post your comments on the matter with the APSC. Go to the APSC Docket Search page http://www.apscservices.info/efilings/docket_search.asp and select Docket # 11-077-C where you may read the complaint and view and submit comments. We will notify you when a hearing is scheduled.


All CE members recently received a notice of the upcoming Annual Meeting to be held 10 am, Thursday, May 24th at the Carroll County Fairgrounds, Berryville, AR.

Included with the notice was the Annual Report, the minutes of the 2011 Annual Meeting, a survey identical to last year's, and a ballot with a single, incumbent board candidate, Randy Shinn.

Many who attended the 2011 meeting were frustrated by what some have described as a "dog and pony show" and insulted by the demeaning way in which members were treated. Entry to the meeting required that members show a photo ID which corresponded with their membership records (spouses not on the membership record were denied entry). Members were required to sign a document agreeing that 1) no official business would be conducted that day; 2) anyone who disrupted or interfered with the presentations would be escorted out; and 3) recording of the meeting by cameras, audio or video was prohibited, even by the press. Members were then searched before entering the building.

During the meeting members were prohibited from commenting or asking questions of their elected board members.

We expect that this year's meeting will be no different and when considering attending, many members have asked, "What's the point?". The point, we suggest, is that CE continues to be our co-op and it is our responsibility to show, by our presence, that we continue to seek and expect transparency, responsiveness and democratic governance from the board and management. Our frustration notwithstanding, we encourage all members and supporters to attend this meeting and express your desire for progressive change. Some have suggested bringing signs and placards so that those who are refused entry, or those who choose not to enter, may make their presence known. Others have suggested using the meeting as an opportunity to congregate outside to have a discussion of ways to effect positive change in our co-op.

We think it is unreasonable to deny members the right to document the meeting whether by audio, video, camera or other means so that those who are unable to attend may see how our board behaves and so that there is an historical record of the meeting.

We encourage all concerned members to attend this meeting and peacefully exercise your rights as owners. Insist that Carroll Electric board and management follow its founding principles and act as a truly cooperative co-op.

-- Dane Schumacher,

Carroll County

Gordon Watkins,