At its June 4 meeting, the Crawford Electric Cooperative board of directors decided to cancel the September 16 Annual Meeting of Members, which regularly draws more than 500 registered members and more than 1,000 total attendees and workers. In its place, the board is calling for a Special Meeting of Members to occur on September 16 for the sole purpose of electing directors and approving 2019 reports. This will be a virtual meeting only, and all voting will be via absentee balloting.
“There is no end in sight to restrictions on large public gatherings due to the pandemic,” said Laura Hengstenberg, who has organized the co-op’s annual meeting for more than 25 years. “Canceling the big event was a prudent step that will safeguard the health and safety of all our consumer-members and our critical infrastructure employees.”
The election of three directors, however, will still occur on schedule. The director election cycle begins this month with the start of the open petition period for nominees. The petition period runs through the end of July. All voting will be accomplished by absentee balloting, either with a mail-in ballot or via secure electronic means.
“Crawford Electric members have been able to vote by mail since the mid-‘90s,” Hengstenberg said. “Adding the electronic option this year will make it even easier.”
Co-op members will receive detailed instructions on the voting procedures later in the summer.
“It’s good to know that we can accomplish the basic business that’s required in a safe and secure manner without putting our consumer-members or our employees at risk,” Hengstenberg said.
June 18 is the first important deadline in the co-op’s annual director election cycle. That is the start of the open nominating period for co-op consumer-members who want to run for election to the co-op’s board of directors.
Three positions on the board need to be filled by a vote of co-op members, with results to be announced during the Special Meeting on Wednesday, September 16. Co-op consumer-members interested in running for the board can begin filing their nominating petitions on Thursday, June 18. The petitions must be signed by at least 15 co-op members.
Candidate information packets are currently available at the co-op office (10301 N. Service Rd., Bourbon) or online in the My Cooperative>Co-op 101>Board of Directors section of the co-op’s website: https://www.crawfordelec.com/content/board-directors.
As a community-focused organization, Crawford Electric Cooperative is led by a board of nine locally elected consumer-members, who understand and listen to the community. The board sets policy and develops long-range goals, always safeguarding the interests of fellow co-op members. Each year, one-third of the board is up for election.
To be a candidate for a position on the board, a person must be a member of the cooperative whose permanent residence is in the co-op’s service territory. In addition, the co-op’s bylaws list potential conflicts of interest that preclude an individual’s candidacy. Members interested in running for the board should request a copy of the co-op’s bylaws. The candidate must declare which district position he or she will seek and should contact the co-op to verify district residency.
Three three-year board positions—one from each of the co-op’s three geographic districts—are up for election each year. The expiring director positions currently are held by Janice Dorson of Sullivan (District 1), Debbie Willette of Sullivan (District 2) and Joe Cason of Cuba (District 3).
All candidates get nominated to the election ballot by submitting nominating petitions signed by at least 15 co-op members. Such petitions must be delivered to the co-op office during the official petition period, which begins this year at 8 a.m. June 18 and runs through 5 p.m. Friday, July 31. First-day filers will draw random numbers to determine ballot order placement. Thereafter, candidates will be listed in the order petitions are received at the co-op.
The director election will be decided by a vote of Crawford Electric members. Due to continuing concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, all voting this year will be conducted by absentee methods starting in mid-August. There will be no on-site voting and no public gathering. Results will be announced during the Special Meeting on September 16. Co-op consumer-members will receive detailed information about this year’s voting process in the “Rural Missouri” magazine and inserts in their electric bills.
“Through absentee balloting and the Special Meeting, the co-op is offering a way for all duly nominated director candidates to have the opportunity to be elected and for our consumer-members to exercise their voting rights,” Hengstenberg said. “I’m glad we have a way to accomplish this in a safe and secure manner.”
Crawford Electric Cooperative is a member of Touchstone Energy, a national alliance of locally owned, community-minded electric co-ops with high standards of service. Crawford Electric serves about 20,000 meters along almost 3,000 miles of distribution lines in Crawford, Franklin, Gasconade, Washington and Dent counties.