Shelby County KFTC members call on REC to pass a Member's Bill of Rights

Shelby KFTC members addressed the Shelby Energy Rural Electric Co-op Board of Directors Nov. 25 and asked them to adopt a Members Board of Rights that guarantees fair elections, open meetings and open records.

Although the board members did not respond to the request, Shelby KFTC members felt they made a positive impression on the Board.

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"They listened attentively but didn't ask a single question," Patrick King, a Shelby Energy member/owner said, noting that the board has had copies of the proposed Members Bill of Rights for more than a year. "The overall impression was not negative. I think we caught their attention in a couple places. I believe they were listening."

King asked the board members to respond to the request by January, adding that he would be back at the January meeting to receive their response.  

Shelby Energy member/owner Nancy Reinhart opened the 15-minute presentation and discussed open records, King discussed open meetings and Sonia McElroy, a Shelby Energy member/owner from Trimble County who ran for a board of directors position last year, discussed fair and open elections. 

King also used his subject of open meetings to present global climate change as a large issue that should be discussed by many members in an open meeting.

McElroy suggested the co-op's Kentucky Living magazine would be be a good way to inform members of issues coming up in future meetings and encourage more members to attend.

McElroy, Reinhart and King were the only non-outsiders at the meeting. Shelby Energy has a strict closed meeting policy, barring all non-members and requiring even members to request permission to attend the meetings and do so in writing, at least four working days in advance.  In order to address the board (for no more than 15 minutes), members had to submit a written request almost a month in advance.

"The tone was not adversarial at all" after some initial defensiveness, Reinhart said. "They were courteous and respectful. It was interesting to hear their consultant talk about strategic planning, so we played off that."

Reforming Shelby Energy is a primary goal of Shelby KFTC. 

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