Fellow Member/Owners of the PEC,
Since learning about the unpardonable conduct by James Oakley I have found myself moving from disgust to outrage to action. I call on each of you who have felt those kinds of emotions as a result of Oakley’s conduct to join me in action.
Those of us who fought to free the PEC from the corrupt, criminal self-dealing by the now disgraced Bennie Fuelberg, PEC General Manager, and establish transparency in the conduct of the coop, open elections and sound business management have a special reason for outrage. All of that work now stands on the brink of being lost Through the hard work of previous Boards since those reforms, staff across the PEC and many of us, the coop has gained the reputation as a national model of effective reform. Any member should recognize the gains made in sound management of the coop reflected in at least seven rate reductions, with more planned for the near future.
In addition to the dark taint on the PEC resulting from Oakley’s actions, foot-dragging by the current Board, under the current Board President Emily Pataki, in dealing with Oakley only serves to further endanger the coop. Perhaps worse is that fact that so much of the deliberations have occurred in secret; behind the closed doors of “Executive Session.” Only by the most extreme stretching of the legal justifications for such meetings hidden from the view of members can those meetings be justified. The one great tool of the Fuelberg era was the cloak of secrecy over his and Board collaborators’ actions. This development looms ominously over the coop’s future.
According to the notice now posted on the PEC website, the PEC Board will reconvene on Wednesday the 14th at 9:00 AM for further consideration of this matter. If your personal responsibilities allow, please attend this meeting. If not please consider sending an email to the Director for your PEC District, with copies to all Directors.
There may be another closed session of the “Special Committee” composed of Directors Pataki, Graf and Scanlon prior to Wednesday’s meeting of the full Board. If you can, please send each of those three Directors an email regarding your reaction to Oakley’s conduct, our coop and the decision that honor and justice demand – Oakley’s removal from the Board.
The email addresses of all PEC Directors are available here:
Each of you will have your own reactions to Oakley’s comments. If they run to outrage and anger like mine, you will have your own reasons for that. In my case, and in addition to the impact on the coop outlined above, the most compelling is that a man, sworn to uphold the laws of Texas in his capacity as a County Judge and to uphold the rule of law pertaining to the PEC, would call for the murder of a man merely accused, but very far from convicted in a court of law, is repellant to me to an extent I cannot express adequately with words. For several years I carried the badge of a law enforcement officer, also sworn to uphold the law and with a unique tie to other who also seek to serve the public in that way. As much as any member of the SAPD I want the person or persons convicted of Detective Marconi’s murder to suffer the very worst the law allows as punishment for the crime a jury declares them guilty of committing. But only that.
Oakley’s apologies and claims of “poor word choice”, even if sincere which I very much doubt, cannot erase that offense.
That Oakley compounded his assault on the rule of law with unmistakable references to the special place of infamy that lynching evokes for many, and most certainly black PEC members, is equally inexcusable. He must either resign from or be ousted from the Board. Having shown, so far, no inclination to resign, as would be the honorable thing for him to do, it falls to the Board. This is their greatest test of loyalty to all PEC members and the rule of law.
Whatever your thoughts and emotional reactions, I hope you do whatever you can to make sure the PEC Directors know of it. We have no one else to call on. This is our responsibility if we wish to have an open, well-managed cooperative to reliably deliver the electric service we rely on.
PEC Member since 1994.