BY HEATHER NORDQUIST
On the eve of Jemez Mountains Electric Cooperative Board of Trustees elections, let us consider a performance evaluation for incumbents. After all, we are their employers, and now is the time to give them a grade. Did they earn our votes for the next four years?
Here is a quick scorecard starting two years ago, just after our last trustee election.
July 20, 2017 — A well-known character returns to the BOT. With his ongoing litigation against his former employer in full swing, John Tapia knew he would not win an election, even with a little help from his friends. So, he simply helped another likely suspect “win” by one vote and got himself re-installed as the at-large trustee. The challenger to this trustee asked to canvass the election, but oops, our cooperative DESTROYED the records.
October 5, 2017 — The general manager that greatly improved JMEC’s bottom line resigned, ostensibly because he was running for a state legislative seat. He won. He is now running to be your next US Congressman.
November 30, 2017 — The “new” board quickly tried to prevent their actions being scrutinized, especially the process to hire a new general manager.
December 21, 2017 — The board killed a well-thought out plan for a solar array negotiated by the former GM. We would only find out much later why (see entry on December 22, 2018).
February 15, 2018 — The BOT chooses a new GM.
May 3, 2018 — Owner/members asked the board to put bylaw changes to a vote by owner/members. The reaction of the BOT was to change the meeting location last minute to Cuba, three hours from most of its membership.
July 26, 2018 — The BOT insists on holding a general meeting in a far, far away place,and it turned out to be a dud.
August 30, 2018 — When member/owners continued to speak out about bylaws and meter issues, the board adopts a policy to simply severely limiting outside communications to members by cooperative employees and trustees.
December 15, 2018 — JMEC deals with insurance hikes following the California fires. A number of job-related injuries doesn’t help the matter.
December 22, 2018 — Only because of his own litigation against his former employer did we find out that the cooperative’s new solar array project was really a sweetheart deal for the trustee-at-large, now an unelected member of the board. Member/owners requested he resign due to this conflict, but six of your trustees decided to ignore their request.
February 15, 2019 — A ray of sunshine emerged as a piece of New Mexico legislation, HB300, was passed and signed into law. It allows for cooperatives to reach a quorum by mail and vote by mail. Unfortunately, the legislation is at-will, and the JMEC board rejected the idea immediately. The Board’s attorney actually claims this bill was never passed.
February 22, 2019 — Trustees continued to pay themselves handsomely for their work in 2018.
May 8, 2019 — Four trustees submitted member-supported bylaw reforms to the board asking that special meetings be noticed to put them to a vote. In direct violation of their bylaws requiring this notice, the board refused.
Do you think they deserve another four years? If you fail to show up and vote for districts 4, 5 and 6 this month, you implicitly hire them back. While the staff writers at the Rio Grande Sun may appreciate the regular fodder for their newspaper, I believe it is time to send some trustees a pink slip.
To fire the current board members that were involved in silencing members and turn the page to ensure real reform, please vote!
District 4, Patrick Herrera vs. Lucas Cordova. June 21 at JMEC Headquarters in Hernandez
District 5, Stanley Crawford vs. Victor Salazar. June 24 at Espanola Valley High School
District 6, Bruce Duran, June 26 at Pojoaque Middle School*
*Bruce Duran is an incumbent, but also one of the trustees that submitted bylaw changes for the member/owners that were ignored by the majority of the BOT (including Lucas Cordova and Victor Salazar).
You own this cooperative. You are the boss. You only need to show up and vote to enforce this personnel action. Vote for Patrick Herrera, Stanley Crawford and Bruce Duran as your JMEC trustees this June. Let’s take back our co-op!