From the Board of Trustees
In 1937, seven men came together to tackle a problem they felt had lingered long enough in their homes and communities. For years, they watched electricity spread through neighboring areas, while their rural towns were being ignored by the companies supplying it. As their families labored under the hot sun and went home to dimly lit farmhouses, they laid the groundwork for a cooperative that would change the way we live our lives in south Alabama.
The responsibility of lighting up a rural county was one that couldn’t be taken lightly. Too many people were giving their hard-earned dollars to invest in what would become Baldwin EMC. So they committed themselves to making their mission a success, and in doing so, became leaders in their community.
For the past 82 years, that responsibility has been handed down from leader to leader and now rests with us, Baldwin EMC’s current board of trustees.
And just like our founders, we do not take the responsibility lightly.
Every decision we make, every action we take must be done in such a way that protects the cooperative’s integrity and preserves it for the future.
As trustees, we serve as “fiduciaries” with the fundamental responsibility of representing the interests of the cooperative’s members. This primarily means the board is responsible for guiding how the co-op’s resources are used to fulfill the cooperative’s mission.
As fiduciaries, board members must be familiar with key governing principles and regulations to ensure that our cooperative always complies with these requirements. We can never forget that in our role as trustees, we are entrusted with the direction and oversight of the co-op’s assets, which are still to this day made possible by the hard-earned dollars of our members.
Beyond our fiduciary role, we are also advocates who must stand up for the interests and concerns of the members who elect us. That’s why the board is made up of actual members from all parts of the coop’s service territory and our districts are established in a way that balances out the number of constituents we represent.
Trustees are expected to advocate for the cooperative business model on a local and, when necessary, national level. At any moment, whether we’re meeting with legislators or shopping for groceries, we must be able to explain cooperative issues and board policy.
It’s quite a bit of responsibility that demands quite a bit of time. But it’s what each of us signed up for when we chose to run for a position on the board. We feel strongly that the value of a cooperative like Baldwin EMC is worth the effort. We’re committed to preserving that value.