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Our View: ‘No’ on bylaw amendment

La Plata Electric Association members are being asked to approve a single proposed bylaw amendment that would better reflect preferences for communication, allow electronic ballots as a voting option, and increase from 500 members to 10% of membership of roughly 35,700 members for signed, written requests for special meetings.

That’s a lot to pack into one bylaw amendment.

This amendment would bring us up to current standards, using less paper and postage, by announcing upcoming meetings electronically.

Another win would be members having the additional option to vote electronically, besides by mail or in person.

A “yes” vote will also give LPEA’s management more time to process a member-produced addition to an annual meeting agenda, requiring that petition signatures (10% of membership) be received no fewer than 60 days prior to the meeting.

But – and this a big but – this bylaw change will significantly increase the number of signatures needed to request a special meeting from the current 500 members to about 3,570.

There is good reason to base a signature requirement on a percent of membership, but 10% is excessive, especially in rural areas. LPEA does not have a history of members calling for special meetings, but to set such a high bar undermines LPEA’s long, successful history of member ownership and leadership.

Better would be 2% or 5%.

The Durango Herald’s editorial board likes the moves to include electronic communication and electronic voting, but is opposed to the significant increase in required signature gathering. For this reason, we urge a “no” vote.

We ask LPEA’s leadership to separate the edits to the bylaw and come back next year with a more appropriate signature gathering percentage. One that’s more in line with a member-owned company of approximately 35,700 members and more than 47,000 meters.