In the last several months, COVID-19 has impacted everyone, many drastically. The economic, health and life impacts will be felt for a long time.
But we are currently in a transition period to less governmental imposed restrictions. Many businesses are reopening and moving back to some semblance of their pre-COVID operations. But the virus is still active and protective measures will need to be in place for the foreseeable future.
As we communicated in previous Watts Working and AWARE columns, your Board of Directors felt it best to postpone the Annual Meeting of the Membership that was originally scheduled for June 19th. Since annual meeting planning starts months in advance, and with COVID-19 growing at a fast pace at the time of the decision, the delay was the prudent step to take.
The good news is, your Board of Directors have rescheduled the Annual Meeting to Friday, October 9. But it will be different this year.
One of the highlights of my year as your CEO is when the members come together to transact the business of your member-owned electric utility. I always look forward to meeting new members or members attending the first time and catching up with those members that have faithfully attended for decades. I fondly remember attending the REMC annual meetings with my family as a kid.
But I have mixed feelings this year. For your safety and the safety of the employee team, your Board of Directors and management team felt that a crowded, in-person meeting would not be wise based on the current information available from the health care experts. Normally, attendance ranges from 1,200 to 1,500, counting members and their families. You can see it would be extremely difficult to practice social distancing without limiting member attendance in a face-to-face meeting.
We also have the dilemma of the location. Over the years, due to increasing member participation—and that’s a great thing—we moved the annual meeting to the gymnasium at Southwestern Randolph High School, the largest indoor climate-controlled facility in the central area of our service territory.
What’s critical this month, as noted in the enclosed pages, is the nomination, petition and Director election process.
The Randolph County School System has been great to work with, allowing us to hold our meetings at their facilities for many years. We appreciate them so much. But with so many unknowns about the state of school activities at that time, especially this far in advance, it would be impossible for them to give us approval to hold the meeting there, for a variety of reasons.
The Annual Meeting this year will be held on Friday, October 9, 2020, at 10:00 a.m. The business session will be held virtually, meaning it can be viewed live online. For members who are not able to view it at that time, it will be recorded and posted on our website. We will be providing more details in the months ahead so please continue to read your monthly Watts Working.
What’s critical this month, as noted in the enclosed pages, is the nomination, petition and Director election process. To accommodate this year’s virtual annual meeting, the Board of Directors approved emergency Bylaws that will expire at the conclusion of this year’s annual meeting. The emergency Bylaws provide the same avenues as previous years for director elections for members interested in running for the Board. The difference this year is the timing. We have contracted with a third party to conduct this year’s election in advance of the meeting. Instead of in-person voting, as we usually do at the annual meeting, members will vote by mailing in a paper ballot or by casting their vote on a secure site online. Every member who votes will be placed into a drawing for a surplus REMC vehicle and other prizes. Voting details will be provided over the next couple of months as the election draws closer.
Here’s an overview of this year’s nomination and petition process for members who are interested in running for the Director position in their district. Any member who meets the eligibility qualifications may be included as a candidate in the election either by submitting their name to the Nominating Committee or by providing a petition to the cooperative.
The names of the members of the Nominating Committees for Districts 2, 4 and 7 are printed in this issue and their contact information may be provided upon request.
Interested members should contact a member of the Nominating Committee for their district to let them know of their intent and to submit the necessary forms for the Committee to review. These forms are available online and at each office. This action must be done by 5:00 p.m. on July 14, prior to the Nominating Committee meetings that will be held that evening.
The other option to run for a Director position is through petition. Randolph EMC has a very low petition bar for members interested in running for the Board, with the only difference this year being the timeline, as well.
For 2020, any member in a district where an election is taking place who wishes to be on the ballot (and their name was not put forward by the Nominating Committee) must file a valid petition with Randolph EMC by 5:00 p.m. on July 31, 2020. The requirement, as noted in section 3.03 of the enclosed emergency Bylaws, states a petition is valid if 15 or more members sign for an individual to be placed on the ballot. In addition to the qualifications forms that would need to be completed, we also have a petition form available online and in each office.
If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact Fred Smith or myself at the Asheboro office. I appreciate all the hard work on the part of the member committees, Board of Directors and employee team in planning for a unique annual meeting this year. But I’m still hopeful and looking forward to us meeting in person next year.
Dale F. Lambert Chief Executive Officer
Learn more about Randolph Electric Membership Corporation.