In our continuing effort to inform our membership and the public, the Cobb EMC Board of Directors wishes to bring your readers up to date on our activities and efforts. Over the past few months we have undertaken efforts to bring positive changes to Cobb EMC. Some changes already stand completed, others are still in various stages of progress, but what follows is a listing of some of the most important activities to date:
* We canceled Cobb EMC’s involvement with the Plant Washington power facility in central Georgia;
* We have initiated more transparency and accountability through posting board meeting minutes and monthly financials, and are the first EMC in the country to post quarterly reviewed financials on our website;
* We have ended the practice of paying per diems to directors for attending meetings merely to observe. Directors only receive compensation if they are working on or with the committee;
* Directors have spent much time attending industry seminars and engaging with Cobb EMC members, other EMC directors, governance experts, attorneys and others regarding governance, best practices, term limits, open board meetings and other issues;
* All directors have begun the process of becoming certified EMC directors;
* Directors participated in an all-day seminar with experts on forensic accounting and have designated a liaison to help create an RFP for the audit;
* We are updating, reforming and realigning Board committees to improve their efficiency and clarify their duties;
* We have adopted a policy limiting directors to no more than two consecutive one-year terms as an officer of the board (chairman, vice-chair, etc.);
* We conducted the first “town hall” meeting for Cobb EMC members in April of this year and have another scheduled for July 26 at 6:30 p.m. in our community room;
We consider these items some “low hanging fruit” and the easiest to implement, but still have given all these matters careful consideration to the negatives or benefits of each of these items to the membership and the organization.
Along with those items listed above, we are also tackling more difficult changes that require more diligence and deliberation to design and implement. We are currently evaluating or working on the following:
* Securing the services of professional firms that will perform a forensic audit of the utility’s past spending;
* Development of a member survey to gauge the priorities of the membership at large on a variety of topics;
* Preparing an update and overhaul of Cobb EMC’s bylaws. This activity is on track and will be performed by a legal firm that understands the industry and is familiar with the NRECA (National Rural Electric Cooperative Association) guidelines;
* Updating Cobb EMC’s internal policies and procedures and preparing additional updates where appropriate based on new bylaws;
* Preparing to implement additional accountability measures including open board meetings;
Finally, the board is working on proposals for members to consider and vote on at the September membership meeting. Only members can make changes to how directors are elected, so as the board reaches conclusions on what might improve governance long-term in this area, we will be seeking member approval. We are currently working on proposals and in September may ask members to:
* Reconsider allowing use of mail-in and/or electronic voting so more members can be involved in the process;
* Realign the areas represented by directors to ensure more equal representation for members;
* Elect directors by votes from members in the area the director represents rather than having all directors run “at large.”;
* Consider other changes as well.
In all of these areas, as well as in others not mentioned above, we are striving to “get it right,” to create both accountability and effectiveness so members can have not only a leadership accountable to them but also confidence that they are part of well-run, efficient, cost-effective EMC.
The next membership town hall meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on July 26 at the Cobb EMC headquarters. We encourage members to register for and participate at this event. Our board is committed to Cobb EMC becoming the best operated and managed utility in the country. We thank you for your continued support.
On behalf of the Cobb EMC Board of Directors,
Cobb EMC board