Twice in the last 6 years, PEC members have been asked to vote on whether they wish to change the current governing model of the cooperative from a fully democratic “at-large” system of voting to that of a “single member district” system. Twice the members have said no.
Little matter. The new board of directors voted 5-2 to ignore the voice of the members and impose the single member system by 2017, member voices be damned. The 5 members who voted for this have a sum total of 7 years of service on the board. The resolution’s sponsor, Jim Powers, has served on the board less than 2 months. Their action–their power grab– reverses a governing model of at-large voting that has worked at PEC for over 70 years.
Monday, August 15, 2016 was a lamentable day in PEC history. Not only did the board take a unilateral action with no formal member comments, they provided members almost no notice. The very fact that this resolution was presented fully-formed with by-laws changes meticulously baked-in suggests a violation of the open meetings rules. Was this matter discussed in open session as an action item for the 15th? To my knowledge, the answer is NO. So the preparation of this resolution and the legal counsel that supported it must have been done behind closed doors, a clear violation of PEC’s open meetings policy.
The latest Austin American-Statesman story posted here:
The following board members voted YES:
Paul Graf, Amy Akers, James Oakley, Emily Pataki and Jim Powers.
Cristi Clement and Kathy Scanlon.
Changing a governing system that has worked effectively for 70 years in favor of one that will turn the cooperative on its head with the creation of competing district fiefdoms, all fighting one another for cooperative favors that run counter to the interests of the cooperative whole, is lamentable. The action taken on Monday and the means by which it arrived for a vote was wholly un-democratic and strongly suggests that this board has embarked on a slippery slope, gliding rapidly down the same corrupt hole from which PEC barely emerged with its life 9 years ago.