Letter from Mark Rose
5/2/2012 10:54:59 AM
Tuesday, May 01, 2012
Bluebonnet members have recently received mailings, door-to-door solicitations and automated calls urging them to vote for two candidates in our upcoming board election. Some of these solicitations have asked our members to hand their voting authority over to interest groups supporting those candidates. The three organizations making these solicitations are not violating any rules of our current election process. But their actions illustrate a potential issue that our directors have been studying for the past two years and addressed during last month’s board meeting.
Our current at-large voting system and our current proxy system makes it possible for members in four counties – Bastrop, Caldwell, Travis and Hays – on the western side our service area (that account for 60 percent of our meters) to dominate elections. That means if the folks in those counties were to organize, they could elect virtually all of the members on the Bluebonnet board.
This is a fundamental flaw in our election process that our board felt should be addressed to ensure every part of our service area has fair and equal representation based on our demographics.
So, this summer our board will develop a plan to evenly divide our service area into districts. The board expects to present its plan for final approval at its September meeting. We anticipate the first election cycle in which our members will be able to vote for directors in their districts will be in 2013.
Under the current voting structure, co-op members are able to cast votes in person at our annual meeting or “by proxy,” designating another to cast their vote or allowing the co-op's proxy committee to vote in their stead. Under that system, the member has the option to either direct the committee to vote for specific candidates or they can allow the committee to cast their vote at its discretion.
The move from at-large voting will effectively end our proxy committee. In most cases where elections are held by district, proxies are not assigned. Or if they are, they’re assigned to individuals, not a proxy committee.
Transparency is critically important during this process. We’ll communicate our board’s progress and we’ll solicit input from our members from start to finish. Long before any election is held in 2013 we’ll inform our members of everything they need to know in order to participate in the election.
General Manager, Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative