Several new faces will be representing South Kentucky RECC customers.
The co-op announced Monday that with nearly 25 percent of South Kentucky RECC’s members voting in the election, four new directors will represent Districts 1, 2, 5, & 6.
“Our goal was to conduct as fair an election process as we possibly could, and I think we succeeded,” said South Kentucky RECC CEO Allen Anderson through a press release. “The board is very pleased with the high percentage voter turnout — it showed how much interest the membership has in their co-op.”
According to the tabulation results, 11,923 co-op members returned their votes out of an eligible 49,256, which resulted in a participation rate of 24.21 percent.
Out of the 35 candidates for the four vacant positions, members chose Cathy Crew Epperson to represent them in District 1, which serves western Pulaski County for the most part, Greg Redmon for District 2, primarily representing Russell County, Greg Beard for District 5, which encompasses all of Clinton County and southern Wayne County, and Boris Haynes for District 6, which serves all of McCreary County and a portion of southern Pulaski County.
Epperson brought in 21.2 percent of the votes out of a field of 16 candidates for District 1 Director, and Redmon pulled in 46.8 percent of the votes for District 2 Director out of a field of three candidates. Beard received 14 percent of the votes out of the field of 13 candidates for the District 5 Director, and Haynes pulled in 40.4 percent of votes out of a field of three candidates for the District 5 Director position.
Those results were verified by Survey & Ballot Systems Director of Operations John Mulcahey.
“This was a very large undertaking, but it has gone smoothly, and I think our members should be pleased with the care that was taken to be sure that the process was impartial and thorough,” said Anderson through the press release. “From the initial informational meetings held last December for potential director candidates to the actual voting process, we took extreme care to make sure everything was handled with utmost propriety."
Epperson, Redmon, Beard, and Haynes will now join Rick Halloran, secretary-treasurer of Somerset, Lee Coffee of northern Pulaski County, and Billy Gene Hurd, of Monticello, on a board that has seen some tumultuous times since September 2012.
The vacancies resulted from a mass resignation in September of former board chairman Richard G. “Rick” Stephens, and board members John Pruitt, Jr., of Somerset, William Shearer, of Clinton County, and Charles Gore, of Russell County.
Stephens and the board had been the target of several local citizens’ efforts to revamp the board, with allegations of sweetheart land deals and questions over possible conflicts of interest. That campaign had developed after the last board election in June, which resulted in some questions about Anderson’s job security. In August, members of the co-op and RECC employees alike held an impromptu rally at headquarters in Somerset, where a meeting of the board of directors was being held.
"History has been made at the co-op,” Anderson said through the press release. “We had a great slate of people running for the four seats on our board. They ran a clean election, and allowed our membership the chance to make their voices heard.”
Now, Anderson and the board are preparing to move forward with conducting normal RECC business — and they plan to look at revamping the bylaws.
“The board updated director qualifications and updated co-op bylaws pertaining to board elections, but all the bylaws need to be reviewed and revised,” Anderson said.
Anderson said the board will consult with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and study model bylaws provided by that organization. Anderson also noted a board attorney will closely scrutinize the process to ensure the changes are proper.
“We want what is best for our membership,” said Anderson. “The membership is at the heart of all we
do, and it is what we stand for and represent.”
SKRECC is one of 19 co-ops regulated by Kentucky’s PSC, 16 of which distribute power generated by Winchester-based East Kentucky Power Cooperative. PSC records indicated that board members for four of those utilities are not compensated.
SKRECC serves some 50,000 member/owners (more than 66,000 meters) in the Kentucky counties of Pulaski, Russell, Wayne, Clinton, McCreary, Casey, Lincoln, Adair, Rockcastle, Cumberland and Laurel as well as Pickett and Scott counties in Tennessee.