DMEA director Glen Black was reinstated to his position on the DMEA Board of Directors Feb. 26 after bylaw changes were adopted that erased the specter of his being ineligible to sit on the board.
A provision in the association's bylaws that disqualifies employees of other electric energy sellers from eligibility to sit on DMEA's board was in effect when Black ran and won election in 2011.
That bylaw provision would disqualify Black from serving because of his employment by the City of Delta which sells electric energy. The DMEA board heard that point made by member/ratepayers during two meetings held in February.
Rather than dealing directly with the issue of Black's eligibility, the DMEA board on Feb. 26 adopted a series of bylaws and policy changes that in effect give the DMEA board full administrative discretion on how it wants to deal with director eligibility issues, including conflicts of interest.
At a special board meeting on Feb. 13, DMEA's attorney took responsibility for approving Black's candidacy under the 2011 bylaws. He explained doing so because the City of Delta wasn't actually competing with DMEA for electric service business at the time. That situation changed last August when the City bid for and won electric service business at the new Maverik fuel stop in Delta, a location previously served by DMEA.
Also at the special Feb. 13 DMEA board meeting, DMEA's attorney characterized the Maverik deal as a watershed event which for the first time had put the city into direct competition with DMEA. But, at the Feb. 26 DMEA board meeting, that "competition" language was softened considerably by board members who noted that DMEA and the city are actually "in negotiations" over the Maverik deal.
Black had excused himself from the DMEA board last December by a voluntary leave of absence until his possible conflict of interest issues could be resolved.
Acting DMEA board president Nancy Hovde called a meeting with four other board members and the attorney on Feb. 18 to draft changes in the bylaws. Two of the committee members missed the meeting because of prior commitments.
On Feb. 26, the committee's draft changes affecting the bylaws and administrative policy were presented to the full board for discussion and/or action.
DMEA directors Tony Prendergast, Marshall Collins and Brent Hines all voiced discomfort with adopting changes so quickly.
Collins was especially strong in his opposition to the changes because, he said, the DMEA board had promised its members that no action would be taken until the March meeting. Prendergast said the process was "somewhat hasty," and was "being rushed along." Hines suggested that one of the bylaw changes be held for discussion by members at the association's annual meeting.
On the opposite side, Hovde, Ed Marston and Mike Sramek were ready to act on the issues that night — issues which the board had bantered since last October. Director Bill Patterson noted that three board seats would be coming up for election this spring.
The board members' discussion of the proposed changes was awkward. Motions with amendments, and amendments to the amendments were offered and voted on. The association's attorney was present via speaker phone offering answers to board members' questions. There was dissent in the voting, close margins, and Hovde had to cast the tie-breaker on one question.
Finally, the DMEA board adopted what Prendergast called "a philosophy change." Board members' conflict of interest issues will no longer be the province of bylaws. They are now the subject of discretion by the board itself to handle as matters of administrative policy.
The board's administrative moves left unanswered questions from association members about why Black, who has not been accused of any wrongdoing, was approved to run and serve for two years under the 2011 bylaw language stating clear ineligibility because of his employment with the City of Delta.
Concluding the 2 1/2-hour bylaw and policy change debate, the board accepted Black's letter of resignation from the office of board president he had held until December's leave of absence. He disclosed his "potential conflict of interest," and he was officially re-seated on the board at his director's post.
Hovde was elected president and Hines was elected vice president.blog comments powered by Disqus