Lincoln Electric Held Annual Meeting

Saturday, Lincoln Electric Coop held their annual meeting as a drive-in meeting at Lincoln County High School.

As with last year’s meeting, it was drive-in, with attendees tuning their radios to listen in. Unlike last year’s smoke, this year’s meeting was cold, wet, and windy.

View from one of the registration checkpoints (before the weather really started to worsen)

At 9 am when the meeting started, there were 97 members registered. With last meeting‘s bylaw change, a quorum only required 2% of coop members, so the meeting was able to continue.

To say the meeting was uneventful might actually be an understatement. Members did vote by mail -over 200 of them, in fact- but it made little difference since there were no more people running than open seats. In fact, each incumbent was reappointed.

Capital credit checks were mailed, we heard a few California jokes, and a bit about the state legislature.

What’s the difference between California and the Titanic? The Titanic had its lights on when it sank.

(I’m paraphrasing the joke, but it was something along those lines)

The discussion on legislation was informative; We learned about House Bill 475 which proposes to classify hydroelectric power as a renewable resource. The representative of the Montana Electric Coop Association was optimistic that the bill will be signed.

As renewable energy sources become increasingly required, having a reliable energy source that qualifies (such as hydroelectric) becomes important in avoiding blackouts and brownouts.

Other news: Rural Propane Services had a rough year but “is on the rebound”, expect to see a rate adjustment (but most residential members won’t see much of a change)

The meeting closed in under 45 minutes.


Lincoln Electric Cooperative held Annual Meeting Saturday

The meeting began at eleven with well over the required numbers, despite the heat and increasing smoke. In order to have a quorum, 5% of members were required to attend, which meant that 238 Lincoln Electric Cooperative members needed to arrive and register. Most people appeared to be staying in the vehicles, the stands far from full.

In the background, traffic could be heard along with the happy, active sounds of young people playing soccer. The radio broadcasting worked quite well, with speakers quite audible. While some were as easy to hear with the windows rolled down, many did require the assistance of the car radio to be audible from where we were parked.

In the interest of brevity- an interest made more pressing by the heat and smoke, questions were not being addressed. We can expect to find any questions of public interest in a Q/A on the LEC facebook page.

The Election of Trustees went by voice vote- there were no more individuals running than vacancies. This year, voice vote involved car horns in addition to the more conventional verbal response.

While Votes on the proposed By-Laws changes were collected, attendees listened to the Financial Report, the Manager’s Report, Education benefits of Unclaimed Capital Credits, and the results of the prize drawings. The meeting formally ended when the votes were all collected and counted, though departures began after the prize winners were announced.

The financial report was upbeat, noting that LEC’s largest expense remains the cost of power, and that they are showing profits up from the previous year.

The manager’s report, also upbeat, was probably most memorable for the anecdote that LEC’s manager carries a picture of an electrical outlet in his wallet. He did take the time to acknowledge LEC’s employees and remarked that the biggest effect the Corona virus situation has had was the lack of travel -LEC actually saved money.

Prizes, when announced, included gift certificates to Gibbons Garage, Car Jacks, Steins, and Sunflower Moose, among others, in addition to the year’s supply of electricity and truck advertised in the Notice of Annual Meeting.

A summary of the voting

Proposed By-Laws ChangeIn FavorOpposedTotal
#1 “This change would enable the board to potentially reduce board expenses while continuing to manage your cooperative in a responsible, sustainable manner” (Board size reduction)29159350
#2 “Current By-laws detail how to become a member, but do not clearly define when membership terminates. This is especially important in regards to defining what constitutes an entity to have voting privileges”33117348
#3 (Rather than quote the explanation, I’ll quote the text added to the By-laws, which is shorter ) “The Cooperative shall retire capital credits in the manner, method, timing and amount as approved and at the discretion of the Board of Trustees”27971350
#4 (Keeps postponing the annual meeting from dissolving the Cooperative, Mail in Voting, Reduces Quorum from 5% to 2%)27678354
#5 “Qualifications for trustees needed to be more clearly defined to help protect the cooperative and members”33118349
Read the changes in full in the Notice of Annual Meeting
*Numbers are what we heard, but it was via radio, and mistakes can happen.