Last June, the cooperative turned 80 years old. That’s 80 years of providing service to our neighbors — to their homes, farms and businesses.
This March, we will hold our 80th annual members meeting. On March 18 at the cooperative’s office in Paulding, Ohio, the members will meet for this historic event.
The cooperative was born as part of a Depression-era program. The Rural Electrification Administration (REA) was formed by then President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935 to bring electricity to the rural areas of the country that had been neglected by the big utilities. Today, the REA has been transformed into the RUS, or Rural Utilities Service. The program is still vibrant and as needed today as it was back then. Although many things have changed since the 1930s, there are some things that don’t change — the annual members meeting and electing local members to the board of trustees.
The annual members meeting is special and unique to cooperatives. Only residents receiving service from the cooperative are members. Only members can purchase electricity from the cooperative. Only members can serve as trustees on the board. Only members can vote for those trustees.
This is the very core of our principle of democratic member control. We all have an opportunity to vote for who represents us on the board. Local control of the board means we don’t have trustees from out of state or stockholders who don’t have your best interests in mind. Board members are your neighbors and friends; they know what is important in the community.
Democratic member control only works if we, as members, vote. You’ll find the biographies of the candidates for the board here. There are elections in districts 1 and 9. (District 6 is unopposed.)
District 1 is an open seat due to the retirement of Gerald Sorg. Sorg has been a board member for 15 years and also served as the cooperative’s representative on Indiana Electric Cooperatives’ board. Sorg will be missed in the boardroom, but we wish him all the best in retirement.
Election materials have been mailed to all members in districts 1 and 9. You can vote online or with the SmartHub app. Or, simply complete the ballot and return it by mail. Voting is easy and fast, and I would encourage all members in districts 1 and 9 to take part in this important process.
I hope you will all join us for our 80th annual members meeting on March 18 at 10 a.m. at 401 McDonald Pike, Paulding, Ohio.
Please watch for upcoming election materials (if an election is held in your district) and participate in this important process.
GEORGE CARTER is CEO/general manager of Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative.