A Tale of Two Videos

Altgelt wants handcuffsPEC Truthwatch has obtained two videos shot at the PEC meeting on Tuesday, August 18  by independent videographer/producer Tom Roudebush. Roudebush has been a fixture at PEC board meetings for two years and is presumed to be paid by Mr. Altgelt. It has been his practice to sit in the audience and videotape meetings as well as other interactions among members.

The two videos are linked here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HNQ8t9_Wcg&feature=youtu.be

Member Milton Hawkins reviewed the first video and publicly communicated his views as follows:

Having now watched Tom Roudebush’s video of the meeting, covering the parts that were blacked out by PEC, I can say with certainty that, contrary to Judge Oakley’s assertion in his comment on this blog, Ernest never attacked “a sitting Director” (Emily Pataki or Judge Oakley) or a “sitting District Judge” (Judge Evan Stubbs).

Ernest got only the following out of his mouth before Judge Oakley interrupted him and ordered the audio and video feeds cut: “Ms. Pataki and you were at Burnet County before Judge Stubbs.”

I also noticed that, contrary to his assertion in his posted comment about Ernest’s having launched a “personal attack,” Judge Oakley in the actual meeting resorted to the new rules he had enacted and announced at the beginning of the meeting. He accused Ernest of having strayed from topics on the published agenda.

I’ve dealt with this charge (attempting to address a topic not on the agenda) already, and posted my response on this blog as a comment, making the point that “Legal Matters” was indeed an item on the published agenda.

But I’d question even further, focusing on the advent of this new “guideline” (to use the outside counsel’s term) that speakers must address items on the agenda for a specific meeting. Despite Judge Oakley’s repeated references to PEC’s Decorum Policy, which I downloaded from the PEC web site and reviewed just today, that policy doesn’t require that speakers address specific agenda topics.

Here’s the relevant part:

http://www.pec.coop/Home/Your_Cooperative/Meetings_and_Voting.aspx
http://www.pec.coop/docs/default…/decorum-policy-final-9-15-14.pdf?...

DECORUM POLICY
2. Board of Directors’ Meetings

2.6.Participants shall refrain from disruptive behavior. Distracting, irrelevant or unrelated subject matter, personal or character attacks, speaking out of turn, approaching or standing at the Board meeting dais without the permission of the Presiding Officer, or improperly sidetracking the attention of other Participants are examples of disruptive behavior.

The closest we get here to regulations regarding the content of the speaker’s comments are the examples of “disruptive behavior,” among them “[d]istracting, irrelevant or unrelated subject matter.”

As I’ve pointed out earlier, the lawsuit Perry v. PEC is a legal matter involving secret communications between officials of PEC and LCRA, PEC’s major power supplier. Hardly a matter that is irrelevant, and very much a “legal matter” that would be “related” and included in the agenda item “Legal Matters.”

I think it is clear, now, that Judge Oakley first manufactured (“enacted”) a policy, with the aid of the outside counsel, modifying the existing Board-approved Decorum Policy as they saw fit, and then used that policy to silence Ernest, acting on his assumption that Ernest was going to make remarks critical of the Board’s handling of Director Perry’s request for access to the communications he wants to examine.

Regards to all, and enjoy Tom’s video.

Milton

UPDATE: Additional comments have been submitted via email distribution since this post. One if from member Carlos Higgins–in its entirety below:

August 21, 2015
Fellow PEC member/owners:
After watching the video of the PEC meeting where Ernest Altgelt is stripped of whatever rights or privileges any member/owner has to address the Board, unnecessarily escorted out of the meeting by the police, and scolded by an arrogant Board President in the bargain, I don’t know how any fair and rational person could avoid drawing conclusions much like these:
 
 
 
1. Our other elected Board members seemed surprised and puzzled by the new edicts that were announced by the Board President and defended by the PEC Attorney.
 
 
 
2. Other than tentative objections voiced very politely by one Board Member, it seems obvious that our PEC Board is ignoring the basic premise under which they were elected by the member/owners.  That is, under Section 10. of the PEC Bylaws, it is the Board that has the power to make and adopt the rules.  It is not the prerogative of any one member of the Board, including a Board member who serves as President of the Board, to unilaterally concoct and interpret Rules for all other Board members to meekly follow.
 
 
 
3.  Our Board members seem to have forgotten that each one of them shares equally in the obligations they have to conduct Board meetings openly and fairly, and they are remiss when they sit silently while one member of the Board, even though seemingly with the support of the PEC Attorney, effectively reduces the role of other Board members to that of spectators.
 
 
 
4.  Our Board members seem to have forgotten that when they elected one Board member to sit as President of the Board, that the authority they delegated to their President was limited, and could be expanded only in two ways:  By the Board duly considering the expansion and voting on the change, or by timid inaction of the Board as the President arrogates additional powers unto himself.
 
 
 
5.  Our Board members seem unaware that they can easily replace an errant President with the concurrence of only four Board members.  The Bylaws (Art. V, Sec. 3) make clear that the President may be removed by “an affirmative vote of four (4) or more Directors whenever in its judgment the best interests of the Cooperative will be served.”  Furthermore, (under Art IV, Sec 2, a special meeting of the Board may be called by only four members.
 
Viewers of the video of that Board meeting may readily agree that the best interests of the Cooperative would be served if this Board takes action to restore the PEC Board to a Board of 7 instead of becoming a Board of ONE.  They will certainly agree such action is needed if in their eyes, the actions of the current President amounts to petty tyranny.  And they will likely realize that, as thoughtful historians have said, most tyrannies have been possible because those who could have easily stopped the tyranny were simply too tolerant for too long.”
 
Carlos Higgins Austin, TX 512 258 3564 CarlosTX@sbcglobal.net
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3 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Videos

  1. Carlos,

    You may now add as evidence for your suggested conclusions this admission by Judge Oakley, that his cutting off Ernest’s comment was an exercise in prior restraint, based on what he thought Ernest might say:

    [ https://pectruthwatch.com/2015/08/19/new-rules/#comments ]
    James Oakley commented on New Rules.
    in response to Larry Landaker:

    Milton –
    Thanks for your comment. What you may not realize is that I have already heard the story he was telling, and I knew what the next sentence was going to be. Out of respect for the parties envolved, I was not going to let that next sentiment occur. As former Director Landacker pointed out, Ernest has a long history of inappropriate actions during the meetings and with female staff in the facility. While it may appear that I was a bit quick on the trigger, and I get that, it was based on ample history. I maintain that pursuant to section 2.6 of the Decorum policy, his most recent actions are reminiscent of past and do not adhere to the policy. I do take exception to your reference to a dictator. Does your video indicate a motion and second to allow continuance as allowed for? Maybe you could manufacture that.
    Respectfully,
    James Oakley

    This is rank censorship, based on mere suspicion, and all owner-members suffer when such power is exercised.

    I always suspected that Judge Oakley had cut Ernest off because he didn’t want to allow Ernest to address certain “legal matters,” as the agenda puts it, but I never expected to see Judge Oakley admit it in such a public way, especially after having said, so publicly, that he had acted because Ernest (1) had strayed from the agenda or (2) had attacked “a sitting Director” and a “sitting District Judge.”

    I’m surprised more people aren’t offended by what Judge Oakley did to Ernest (and to all of us) on Tuesday, for, without strongly voiced objection and timely action by other directors, he can do the same to them when their opportunity comes to voice their concerns about the way the cooperative is being run.

    Thank you for stating these conclusions.

    Milton

    PS: The person who made the video added the description that accompanied the video. He saw it all and chose a word, “Dictator,” that he thought fit the action.

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  2. Larry, the precedent for allowing the bad behaviors you mentioned have occurred regularly at board meetings and allowed by every board president and every board member since the reforms…even the outrageous and insulting comments to women employees of which you reference. I know of no attempts to curb these bad behaviors except one time. That is when the Board declared Mr. Altgelt could not attend the annual meeting two years ago. And even here a sitting board member, Perry, by prior agreement allowed Mr. Altgelt inside to attend the meeting…and then the board even allowed him to speak. The board blinked and the female employees were outraged. The Board, since 2008, and this includes the whole time you were on the board-and as its president-is responsible for what happened at the last meeting. Either it should enforce the decorum rules or do away with them.

    I haven’t talked to Judge Oakley. And I do not support limiting members remarks to just what is on the agenda. Limitations should be reasonable to anything the member wants to talk about concerning the PEC. I do support appropriate decorum. The rules are well posted outside the board room, but one employee stated to me”…sadly they are not enforced”.

    But what happened at the PEC meeting with Mr. Altgelt did not come as a surprise and the precedent set by prior boards had fail to curb serious decorum issues….like it or not it appears the president was trying to enforce what previous presidents and boards have failed to enforce.. And unfortunately it appears he went way too far.

    De Colores!.

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  3. Pingback: One Judge Too Many | PEC TRUTHWATCH

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