No explanation was given for the early departure. On Tuesday, Chadwick, through an EMC spokesman, declined the Tribune’s request for a formal interview about his tenure on the board.
Ed Crowell, who heads the Georgia Motor Trucking Assocation and was elected to the EMC board in November, was elected as vice chairman of the board at Tuesday’s meeting, and will be the acting chair after Chadwick leaves.
The news release announcing Chadwick’s resignation says a new permanent chairman will be elected at the board’s March 28 meeting, just days before the March 31 elections for six seats on the board.
Chadwick has been on the board since 1982 and has been the chairman since September 1988. He and his wife, Sandra, live in Roswell.
He represents Cobb EMC on the board of Oglethorpe Power Corporation, where he serves as Northwest Region director, and is also the current chairman of Black Diamond Coal, according to the release sent by Cobb EMC.
Sam Kelly, Cobb EMC’s vice president of public relations, said the timing of Chadwick’s exit has to do with fiduciary issues at Oglethorpe.
“They had to have a little bit of time to legally get things in line,” he said.
Greg Jones, spokesman for Oglethorpe Power Corporation, said Chadwick was not pressured to resign before the election.
“The timing of Mr. Chadwick’s resignation from the Cobb EMC Board was strictly his decision. Under Oglethorpe Power‘s by-laws, once he leaves the Cobb Board, his seat on the Oglethorpe Power Board is vacated. When that happens, we will make any SEC filings as required by law,” said Jones, who added that Chadwick had been on their board since 1989.
During his time on Cobb EMC’s board, Chadwick previously chaired the finance committee, as well as the audit and budget committees.
“Serving the members of Cobb EMC has been an honor,” Chadwick is quoted as saying in the news release.
Chip Nelson, the president and CEO of the nonprofit electric membership cooperative, said in the release: “We wish all the best for Larry and his family and thank him for his dedication and commitment to Cobb EMC. Looking toward the future, I congratulate Ed Crowell on his election as board vice-chairman and share the confidence his peers have placed in him. The work ahead will benefit from his wisdom and experience.”
Butch Thompson, one of the Cobb EMC members who sued the utility in 2007 and helped bring about a sea change in the operations and culture of the nonprofit electric cooperative, said he had known Chadwick for “years and years,” and was not expecting his early departure from the board.
“He’s an extremely nice person,” Thompson said.
Bo Pounds, another of the plaintiffs, also was unaware of Chadwick’s early departure, but urged the board to wait until after the March 31 elections to elect a new, permanent chairman.
Chadwick will be entitled to retirement benefits of $1,100 per month for up to 16 years, which would total more than $211,000. In 2010, the board ended that highly controversial and unusual benefit for future directors, and members overwhelming ratified a bylaw change to that effect last September.
In April 2009, Chadwick’s home was among the sites raided by Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents seeking evidence of racketeering and theft related to Cobb EMC and the for-profit company it had created, Cobb Energy.
To date, only former CEO Dwight Brown has been indicted on criminal charges relating to the actions at Cobb EMC and Cobb Energy.
According to the narrative of probable cause that was filed in Cobb Superior Court related to the search warrants executed that day: “Allegations were also made that Brown and other Cobb EMC Board Members unlawfully profited from the assets of Cobb EMC for their own personal use. Allegations were made that the above named CEO and board members directed and participated in the unlawful taking of these assets and participated in efforts to conceal or disguise these takings from Cobb EMC and its members.”
Chadwick owned $100,000 of Cobb Energy stock until shortly after the 2007 EMC annual meeting, according to the court documents.
Another longtime EMC director, Sarah Brown, retired from the board last month after serving for 32 years. She had been the board’s vice chairman. Last September, CEO Nelson announced that Brown and Chadwick would be giving up their seats at the next elections.
Cobb EMC serves about 190,000 members in Cobb, Cherokee, Bartow, and Paulding counties in metro Atlanta, plus Randolph, Quitman, Calhoun and Clay counties in the south Georgia “Pataula” district.
On March 31, members of Cobb EMC will elect six directors, in the utility’s geographical areas 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, and 9. While the directors must live in the geographical areas they represent, members vote on all seats.
Qualifying for those six elections is open until March 2, and so far, the EMC has received 19 names nominated by petition among the six seats, with the heaviest in area 5, now represented by Kay Anderson. Anderson has not said whether she will seek reelection, but seven petitioners are seeking that seat.
In area 4, represented by Johnny Gresham, who is seeking reelection, three challengers have signed up.
Interested candidates must submit a letter of intent and a petition for nomination with the signatures of 15 Cobb EMC members to the Secretary/Treasurer of the Cobb EMC Board of Directors, PO Box 369, Marietta, GA 30061 by the March 2 deadline.