Tuesday, November 14, 2006

GVEA's G&T bylaws mess

The last public hearing/meeting on the G&T proposal is at Noel Wien tomorrow night, Nov. 15, 6:30 pm. Ballots will be sent out Nov. 20. This is being stupidly rushed through with lots of cheering from GVEA's PR department and zippo analysis presented to us, and at this point, I agree with Gary Newman. Vote against this ill-advised plan. We need to take some time on this. Dermot Cole is more neutral about the idea, but while GVEA claims that a G&T cooperative is the industry standard, it is NOT the standard in Hawaii and Alaska, and for good reason. We can't just hook into a different network of power producers the way they can in the Lower 48.

The Ruralite article on it is essentially a glorified advertisement, and is misleading besides. There's no acknowledgement of any possible problems with this G&T setup.

I am very glad that I went through the proposed bylaws for this new G&T that GVEA is trying to sell to the membership. Man, what a mess. Bylaws aren't fun reading, in my book, but even a noneditor is going be astounded by the poorly written mess they've suggested as bylaws for the new G&T (PDF link from GVEA's page, so presumably the current bylaws). They're dated Oct. 6 in the link name, but Oct. 16 in the actual file, and I have heard rumors that they've since been adjusted. If this is true, that means that we, the owners of the utility and the people who have to make a decision on this business, aren't voting with all of the cards on the table. These bylaws haven't been approved by the G&T board (read: GVEA board) since they last met in that capacity, and they could be changed after the G&T is set up. And we, the member/owners of GVEA, would have no say whatsoever.

A neighbor and I went through them item by item last night. There's eleven pages, plus the contents, and they are BAD.

For example, the bylaws give an astounding amount of power to an executive committee of the board of directors of the G&T; i.e., ALL powers. Meetings are not required to have public notice, and meetings of the board of directors only require 24 hours notice to the actual board members themselves. Board members who are on G&T business can participate telephonically if they are not available physically, but the bylaw for this implies that the only exception to participation this way is if they can't attend due to bad weather. If they are on vacation, or not on board business, they apparently can't participate, even telephonically. If they miss two meetings, they can be removed by a majority of those board members who manage to make it to one of these short-notice meetings. Most of the decisions the G&T makes can be made with only a majority of the quorum, which is a simple majority of the G&T board (or a majority of the Executive Committee, remember, which has ALL POWERS of the general board). This is bad, bad organization planning.

The more I hear about this, the less I like it. While Dan Osborn claims that there won't be much of a difference between our current operation and a split into two cooperatives, I think it is a crucial difference. The members are left out of too many of the decisions as it is.

1 comment:

Jeffrey A. Rogers said...

Thank you Dierdre,
I believe that the more this B.S. about GVEA G&T is made known to people the more they will not like it.
I'm voting "no-way" and a ask everyone to please join me.
Take care,