What’s New in the Rules

Wiregrass Electric Cooperative members approve several bylaw changes

When it comes to Wiregrass Electric Cooperative (WEC), your voice — your opinion — matters. As a cooperative, providing electricity and a commitment to putting members’ best interests first replace the overriding drive to earn a profit found in a typical business.

Instead, a cooperative is structured to focus solely on you and how it can benefit you. Since it is a not-for-profit, any profits, known as margins, will eventually return to the cooperative’s membership.

A cooperative is also member-owned and member-governed. Members have a voice in who serves on the board of trustees and in the rules, called bylaws, governing the organization.

In October, WEC members approved several changes to the bylaws controlling how the cooperative operates. Many of the changes update pronoun usage to include feminine references, further promoting a cooperative’s core value of inclusion. Some other changes cleaned up punctuation in the documents in an effort to create more understandable bylaws and to make them more accessible.

Another set of changes will streamline the meeting notification and voting processes to promote transparency. These adjustments, which are detailed below, strengthen WEC’s execution of one of the cooperative’s most valued principles: democracy.

Board Nomination & Meeting Procedure Changes

Many of these alterations influence the production and distribution of WEC’s nationally recognized annual meeting packets. These packets include several items, such as a report documenting some of the cooperative’s major developments in the previous year.

The packets also contain all the materials members need to vote by mail: a ballot, a voting guide that details the board of trustees candidates, a registration card, and the envelopes needed to return the ballot to the cooperative’s independent auditor. When there are proposed changes to the bylaws, the packets will also include documents detailing the specifics.

To deliver these packets to members earlier — therefore giving them more time to consider the cooperative’s business — several bylaw changes were ratified:

  • The board member nomination deadline was pushed back from 60 to 90 days prior to the annual meeting.
  • The board of trustees was given more flexibility about when it ratifies the proposed ballot. An earlier ratification means the packets can be mailed sooner.
  • The start of the annual meeting notification period was extended from 40 to 60 days before the annual meeting.
  • The deadline for return of voting materials was extended by one day.

“We appreciate the membership for approving these proposed bylaws during our 2021 annual meeting,” says WEC Chief Operating Officer Brad Kimbro. “We at WEC are always striving to improve our service to our membership, and sometimes that requires adjustments to our bylaws and operation. We believe these changes further promote inclusion and participation in our democratic organization, and that will make us an even stronger entity in the future.”

2021 WEC Election Results

Proposed bylaws changes:

  • Yes — 778
  • No — 200

District 2 representative:

  • Glenn Maloy — 785
  • Randy Odom — 1,183

Incumbents Tracy Reeder (District 5) and Greg McCullough (District 8) were unopposed.