Bluebonnet’s Annual Meeting held May 12 without public attendance due to coronavirus


Pictured from left are Roderick Emanuel, Robert Mikeska, Byron Balke and Russell Jurk. All four were re-elected to Bluebonnet’s Board of Directors during the co-op’s Annual Meeting. Emanuel serves as a vice chairman and director from District 3, Bastrop County, and has been on the Board since 2011. Mikeska serves as secretary-treasurer and director from District 7, Washington County, and has been on the Board since 2008. Balke serves as assistant secretary-treasurer and director from District 6, Austin, Colorado and Fayette counties, and has been on the Board since 2000. Jurk serves as director from District 4, Lee, Milam and Williamson counties, and chairs the Board’s audit and finance committee. He has been on the board since 2011.

Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative conducted its Annual Meeting on Tuesday, May 12, without public attendance in adherence to coronavirus-related guidelines from federal and state public health officials. 

“Our Annual Meeting is our most important event each year,” said Ben Flencher, Bluebonnet’s Board chairman. “It certainly was a different experience this year. We missed visiting with members, seeing old friends and making new ones.” 

During the Annual Meeting four incumbent directors who were unopposed in their respective races were re-elected by general consent in accordance with Bluebonnet’s bylaws. The four directors were Roderick Emanuel, District 3, Bastrop County; Russell Jurk, District 4, Lee, Milam and Williamson counties; Byron Balke, District 6, Austin, Colorado and Fayette counties; and Robert Mikeska, District 7, Washington County. 

Though the public was unable to attend this year’s Annual Meeting due to the coronavirus crisis, 6,487 Bluebonnet members were represented and established a quorum for the meeting by submitting their proxy forms. 

“It was important to hold our Annual Meeting in accordance with our bylaws and to re-elect the four incumbent directors so the Board could continue representing our members during this challenging period,” said Matt Bentke, Bluebonnet’s general manger. “The prohibition against large meetings for public health reasons demonstrated the importance of our members’ ability to participate by proxy.” 

There was no new business on the meeting’s agenda, but had there been, those items would have been voted on by members being present with their proxy. 

In other business during the Annual Meeting, Board Secretary-Treasurer Robert Mikeska certified the Annual Meeting’s legal notice and that a quorum was represented, and the cooperative’s Board of Directors approved the minutes from last year’s meeting. Ben Flencher provided the chairman’s report and Matt Bentke provided his general manager’s report, both of which included financial and operational highlights.  

“Bluebonnet’s directors and employees are proud to be able to support our communities and help our members through this difficult time,” Bentke said. “That includes returning $4.2 million in capital credits beginning this month, providing financial assistance to nonprofit organizations that help Bluebonnet’s members pay their electric bills, and donating much-needed money to area food banks that provide meals to families across the cooperative’s service area.” 

Bluebonnet will continue to track the bill-pay assistance provided by the nonprofit organizations, and work with food banks to provide additional support. Bluebonnet is also helping families and businesses by temporarily suspending disconnections for nonpayment; and waiving late fees, deferring payment due dates and making payment arrangements for members in need.

Cynthia Counts, a Bluebonnet member in Austin County, won a 2011 Ford F-150 retired from Bluebonnet’s fleet. Counts was selected at random among all members who submit- ted a proxy form in advance of the Annual Meeting. (Sarah Beal photo)
Bluebonnet members who submitted proxy forms were entered into drawings for prizes, including a 2011 Ford F-150 being retired from the cooperative’s fleet, two Cub Cadet riding mowers and a Yeti cooler. Prizes were drawn on May 13. Prizes were paid for through donations from Bluebonnet vendors.

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