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2013-05-23 digital edition

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2013-05-23 / Community News

Bluebonnet’s Members Vote for Directors During Annual Meeting

Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative’s members elected one new director and re-elected three incumbent directors at the co-op’s Annual Meeting Tuesday in Giddings.

Kathleen Handy defeated George Martinez in the race to represent District 3, Bastrop County. Incumbent directors, Milton Shaw, District 1, Caldwell, Hays, Gonzales and Guadalupe counties; Ben Flencher, District 5, Burleson County; and Kenneth Mutscher, District 7, Washington County, were unopposed and reelected in their respective races.

There were also two referendums on this year’s ballot. On both referendums, Bluebonnet members chose to keep the election process and voting by proxy as is. As a result, Bluebonnet members will continue to elect directors at-large, meaning each member will be able to vote for candidates regardless of the district they are running to represent. Members will also continue to have the option of voting by proxy in co-op elections. Proxies are a way for co-op members who do not attend the annual meeting to participate in elections and have a voice in who represents them on the board of directors.

“This was a successful annual meeting that really demonstrated what’s great about being a member and owner of a cooperative – democratic control,” said Rick Schmidt, Bluebonnet’s board president. “Our members determined who will represent them on the board and decided two very important issues about Bluebonnet’s governance and elections.

“Congratulations to Kathleen Handy for winning her race, and to the three incumbent directors who were unopposed. We have a great board and will continue to work together to make Bluebonnet the best co-op in the nation.”

One third of Bluebonnet’s 11- member board is up for election each year. Directors serve staggered, three-year terms. More than 6,000 Bluebonnet members voted in this year’s election, either by proxy or in person at the annual meeting.

Mark Rose, Bluebonnet’s general manager, spoke to nearly 400 people who attended the meeting about the nearly 75-year history of Bluebonnet’s journey to bring electricity to Central Texas, and where the journey will take the co-op in the future. Bluebonnet will celebrate its 75th anniversary next year. Rose’s comments were punctuated by a video that highlighted Bluebonnet’s milestones in 2012, which included a team effort to recover from 2011’s Bastrop County wildfires and efforts to continue to improve its technology and member service.

Matt Bentke, Bluebonnet’s chief operating officer, provided information about the co-op’s operational and financial strengths, including assets, electric rates, capital credits and growth.

Bentke cited numbers that illustrate Bluebonnet’s service and operational efficiency. He reported the number of days – 14 – it takes Bluebonnet to provide electric service to new members and the number of meters per employee, 311, which is the most significant way to measure a utility’s efficiency. Bentke said comparable utilities about the same size as Bluebonnet have around 260 meters per employee. He also compared the most important number to members – a 12-month rolling average of Bluebonnet’s electric rate – with neighboring cooperatives. Bluebonnet has the lowest rate among area co-ops and has among the lowest rate compared to area investor-owned and city-owned utilities.

Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative is one of the largest electric cooperatives in Texas and has been serving its members since 1939.

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