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Coastal Electric board gets new members
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Some 800 residents voted to change leadership in Coastal Electric Cooperative last week and two newcomers were welcomed to the board of directors.
Ken Luke won over incumbent Walter Meeks for the Bryan County seat.
Johnny Kearns took incumbent Ronnie Bragdon’s place for the McIntosh seat.
Liberty County representative Jack Waters ran unopposed.
Stephen Mullice of Liberty County was the directors’ pick for president.
The Midway-based electricity distributor allows its customers management in the company by allowing members to elect a board of directors.
The election drew more than 1,500 votes, 693 of them by proxy.
Some members at the meeting questioned whether passing off votes should be allowed.
“Everybody has an opinion about something,” Mullice said. “They’ve been using that method for 68 years. I had opposition to run with that method. It didn’t bother me.”
Waters was not bothered by members voting by proxy either.
“In corporate America, that’s a well known process,” Waters said. “It allows for more representation of the members of who can’t always be involved.”
The co-op’s bylaws prevent members from voting more than three proxies.
Two bylaws were up for amendments this year and both amendments were “substantially defeated,” according to Mark Bolton, Coastal’s vice president of communications, marketing and economic development.
Mullice thinks members are most concerned with one of the proposed bylaw amendments that would have prohibited members from voting for directors outside their district.
The other amendment wanted to give members the option of mailing in ballots.
Board members can make amendments to the bylaws in their regular board meetings, Bolton said.
“The bylaws can be amended at anytime the board has a need to do so,” Bolton said.
“Historically, amendments have been made infrequently and then usually to bring them into compliance with some regulatory or similar issue.”
The board also approves changes in service rates.
As president, Mullice wants to make sure service stays cost-effective.
“The first thing is to deliver the most economical power to the members…and make our members aware of conserving energy,” Mullice said. “There’s a lot of things they have to do themselves to protect their power bill.”
Coastal Electric serves nearly 16,000 residents in Liberty, Bryan, Long and McIntosh counties.
The nine-member board of directors each serve three-year terms.
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