Three members of the Jemez Mountains Electric Cooperative Board of Trustees have proposed changes to the Co-op bylaws that would allow mail-in voting, impose term limits on trustees, limit trustee compensation and make the trustee-at-large position elected by member-owners.
District 1 Trustee Dolores McCoy, District 4 Trustee David Salazar and District 6 Trustee Bruce Duran submitted the changes to Board Secretary Harold Trujillo.
The changes were drafted by members of the Pojoaque-based community group New Mexicans Protecting Land, Water and Rights, with assistance from an attorney.
“I think it is time that the bylaws they are looked at and changed and brought up to date,” Duran said.
The first change would allow member-owners to vote by mail. A person could request a mail-in ballot up to five days after any meeting or election. Ballots returned within the 30-day period after the meeting or election would be counted toward to vote total.
Mail-in ballots would not be counted toward computing a quorum.
The second change would impose term limits on trustees. A person would not be allowed to serve more than two consecutive four-year terms. A trustee would have to wait eight years before running for a Board position again.
The third change would limit trustee compensation to $10,000 a year.
The next proposed change would alter the way the trustee-at-large is elected. Instead of being chosen by a majority of trustees, the trustee-at-large will be elected for a two year term by the member-owners during the Co-op’s annual meeting in odd numbered years.
The proposed changes also include a new section for procedures for Board meetings.
“It is declared to be the policy of this Board that all members of the Cooperative are entitled to the greatest possible information regarding the affairs of the Cooperative and the official acts of the trustees’ who represent them,” the proposed changes state.
It would require for written minutes to be taken at all meetings, that at a minimum include the date, time, place of the meeting, trustees in attendance and those absent, the substance of the proposals considered and how trustees voted. Draft minutes must be prepared within 10 working days after the meeting.
The new section would also require for trustees to provide the reason for closure and the subjects to be discussed during executive session meetings. Any votes must happen in public and recorded in the minutes and only subjects shared with the public beforehand can be discussed.
If an executive session is required outside of the regularly scheduled monthly meeting time, the public must be notified it is taking place and any votes must occur during the next public meeting.
Board President Nick Naranjo said he was unaware any proposed bylaw changes had been submitted. Trujillo did not return phone calls by press time.
The current bylaws allow for special member meetings and special district meetings to be called by a Board resolution, a written request of three trustees, by the request of the president or by a 10 percent quorum of the members.
There has been no formal response to the proposed bylaw changes by Naranjo or Trujillo as of press time, and no meeting has been set. The current bylaws do not set a time limit for when a meeting must be scheduled, but do specify the meeting can be held at any place within the specified district or Co-op service area.
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