CEO’s Message – February 2021
Adjustments to the 2021 Annual Meeting
Stearns Electric Association is a democratically-controlled business, governed by a Board of Directors who are elected by you, our member-consumers. The Board of Directors consists of nine members, one to represent each of the Cooperative’s nine districts. Directors are elected to serve three-year terms. Elections take place in conjunction with the Cooperative’s Annual Meeting every year for three districts on a rotating basis. In 2021, directors in districts 4, 5 and 9 are up for election.
ANNUAL MEETING POSTPONED
On January 28, 2021, District 3 Director, Richard “Dick” Nathe, resigned from his position on the Stearns Electric Association Board of Directors for personal health reasons, effective immediately. This leaves a one-year vacancy on the Cooperative’s Board in District 3. Per our Bylaws, this vacancy needs to be filled in conjunction with our next Annual Meeting.
The Cooperative’s nomination process for the election in districts 4, 5 and 9 was well underway prior to Director Nathe’s resignation. In fact, the nominations window for these districts closed on January 28 at 4 p.m., just a few hours after receiving the notice.
Needless to say, we did not have enough time to communicate the opening in District 3 to members in that district by the election deadline. But, filling this vacant position as soon as possible and having representation from each district is important to our governance model.
That left us with two options:
- We could continue along the same timeline as we initially planned, with the election results for districts 4, 5 and 9 to be finalized in conjunction with the Annual Meeting on April 8, 2021. This option would require us to hold a second special election and meeting for members in District 3, separate from the Annual Meeting.
- We could postpone the current Annual Meeting to accommodate the elections for districts 4, 5 and 9, as well as the special election in District 3.
Article III, Section 10 of the Bylaws of Stearns Electric Association allows the Board President to postpone and reschedule the Annual Meeting of the members for good cause.
Board President Randy Rothstein took action to postpone the Annual Meeting of the members by four weeks, from Thursday, April 8, 2021 to Thursday, May 6, 2021.
BENEFITS TO COOPERATIVE MEMBERS
Although both of the options above are in accordance with the Cooperative’s Bylaws, the benefits of postponing the Annual Meeting of the members ultimately led us to this decision.
Either way, the Cooperative needed to facilitate a special election in District 3 to fill the remaining term of office for the vacant position, which is one year. As we use a third-party contractor, Survey and Ballot Systems (SBS), to conduct our elections, it was in the best interest of the Cooperative financially to postpone the election. Postponing the election allows the Cooperative and SBS to coordinate all four district elections at the same time instead of facilitating two completely separate elections on different timelines. Additionally, postponing the Annual Meeting saves the Cooperative additional time, money and resources by not holding a special election results meeting for members of District 3.
Lastly, it allows adequate time for members in District 3 to be made aware of the vacant position and submit an Application for Director by the deadline on Thursday, February 25, 2021 at 4 p.m.
Postponing the Annual Meeting by four weeks also helps in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As vaccines continue to roll out and cases continue to decrease throughout Central Minnesota, we hope that this additional time allows us to hold a safer Annual Meeting.
The brief postponement will not impact the board of director candidates in districts 4, 5 and 9. The nominations window for districts 4, 5 and 9 closed at 4 p.m. on Thursday, January 28 and will remain closed.
Complete details regarding our Annual Meeting, scheduled for May 6, 2021, will be announced in the March edition of Power Connection and on our website.
If you have any questions regarding the Annual Meeting postponement or the special election in District 3, please do not hesitate to contact us during regular business hours at (800) 962-0655.
Robin C. Doege
February 28, 2021
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