I attended the Bluebonnet Electric Coop membership meeting in Giddings yesterday and was frankly appalled.
Just to be clear, we have no beef with Bluebonnet employees, or their fine service both during the historic fire or otherwise — they’re doing a great job!
The sick feeling I had in my stomach was not because Dick Peterson and George Kehler were not elected to the board, or even that all three incumbents (one who has served for 30 years!) were reelected. It was the arrogance of Bluebonnet’s CEO, Mark Rose, who deigned to interfere with our right to support these two fine people. I asked for a simple apology. What I got was a refusal by Rose to admit that he lost his temper and abused his authority.
We supported Dick and George because we thought they would be great additions to Bluebonnet. We also wanted to test Bluebonnet’s electoral system. Bluebonnet failed on this count, pretty miserably. We reported to you recently about the ads placed in the newspapers implying we had done something wrong — when we were operating perfectly within our rights to engage in electoral campaigning.
We just learned that another organization supporting Dick and George was issued an intimidating “cease and desist” letter by Bluebonnet’s attorney, for simply gathering proxies for the two candidates — something completely legal and proper under Bluebonnet by-laws. Rose claimed that he had bonafide reports that Clean Water Action canvassers were posing as Bluebonnet employees. We very seriously doubt that.
We will be back in touch with you after we gather more information and hear from all parties involved in what took place this week. This may take some time, but I assure you that we will not let this go down without a fight to bring Bluebonnet’s governance in line with what the ratepayers deserve. This includes holding meetings at a time and place that is convenient for the most members to attend, non-interferance in the elections process, ending the proxy system which is a set up for manipulation, allowing candidates the opportunity to speak to the membership about what they want to see changed and more.
Thanks for your participation. At least the movement for reform at Bluebonnet is in the air and we hope to spirit moves towards reform at other coops.
I’m told that the reforms implemented at Pedernales Electric Coop have indeed made a big difference!
Most of you receiving this message are in Bluebonnet Electric Coop’s service area. If not, we apologize for the unnecessary email.
The rumor that Bluebonnet Electric is considering a rate hike is FALSE! In fact, the coop has invested in some new technologies that are likely to help keep rates low.
Our primary concern about Bluebonnet is the “proxy system”. We would prefer to simply allow ratepayers to mail in their ballots and vote for themselves. Also, we hope Bluebonnet will start having their meetings on Saturdays so that members can more easily attend.
The membership meeting and final vote for the Bluebonnet Electric Coop Board is this Tuesday, May 8th, with registration starting at 1:30 pm at the Sons of Hermann Hall, 1031 CR 223 in Giddings. Please consider attending to hear directly from the board about this as well as other plans for the coop that are of great interest, including conservation efforts.
Independent Texans endorsed two candidates running for the board — Dick Peterson and George Kehler. An ad paid for by Bluebonnet, with your membership dollars appeared in area papers this week that seemed to call our efforts into question. We believe this was an inappropriate way to spend coop member’s money as it was inaccurate, confusing and unnecessary. These are two viable, highly qualified candidates put forth by Bluebonnet for your consideration!
It now seems our utility would like you to think otherwise. Is it because Peterson and Kehler have generated broad-based support from both members and organizations interested in the difficult issues facing us in the future?
Please join us in Giddings on Tuesday to ask questions and learn more. Bluebonnet need not fear its own members!