Our Roles and Responsibilities: Overseeing the Democratic Process

Baldwin EMC Board of Trustees

In the past few issues of Alabama Living, you’ve seen notices explaining our election process, and the dates of several important meetings. These may or may not have caught your eye, but they are some of the most important elements of the democratic process at Baldwin EMC.

Every one of us currently serving on your board of trustees is here because our names went on a ballot, and you voted for us. We each go through the nomination and voting process at the end of our three-year term, with no guarantee that we’ll be given another. And even though the period of uncertainty between appearing on the ballot and hearing the final vote tally can be tense, we understand the importance of the democratic process.

It’s our duty as the cooperative’s board of trustees to see that this democratic process is carried out in accordance with our bylaws. Everything from the timeline for publishing notices, to the way ballots are distributed, is laid out with specific requirements within Baldwin EMC’s bylaws.

Speaking of bylaws, as your board, we have a little something to do with those, also. Not only do we ensure that bylaws are being carried out, if we, as a board, feel like a change or addition to the bylaws is needed, we place that before the membership for a vote.

We’re not the only ones who are able to do this. As members, you also have the right to suggest bylaw changes to be voted on by the membership. In other words, you have the ability to impact the way your cooperative is run. Can you think of any other company you do business with, where you’d have the same rights? Your status as a Baldwin EMC member, instead of a customer, makes a difference.

In November, your board of trustees will gladly welcome you as we host the 2021 Annual Meeting. As a cooperative, this is one of our most important events of the year. At the meeting, you’ll hear quite a bit from us about Baldwin EMC’s priorities and challenges, and highlights and milestones. But since you’re a member of both the co-op and the community, we also welcome the opportunity to hear from you. While Baldwin EMC provides convenient electronic options for bill-paying and communication, sometimes there’s just no substitute for in-person engagement.

The Annual Meeting is also the time to vote for new board members if you choose not to vote by mail. And since election results will be calculated then and there, it’s also an opportunity for you to meet the people who will be representing you on the board, whether he or she is a new face or a familiar friend.

Honoring the democratic process is one of the most important responsibilities a co-op’s board has. If we don’t carry this out with due diligence, we are compromising the integrity of the cooperative, which is something we aren’t willing to do. Our members depend on us, and we owe it to you to make sure Baldwin EMC is in a position to continue operating democratically for many more years to come.

If you have any questions about voting and elections, or anything regarding your democratic rights as a member, please contact Baldwin EMC at (251) 989-6247.

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