Incumbents on the North Central Electric Cooperative Board of Trustees did not face any competition to retain their seats at the annual meeting in June, but they expressed gratitude to the membership for being allowed to serve another three years.
In spite of hot, humid weather with intermittent heavy rain, about 1,500 attended the cooperative’s 81st Annual Meeting at the Seneca County Fairgrounds in Tiffin. Many came to enjoy Family Fun Day activities.
Kevin Bishop, Dennis Schindler, and Nick Wagner were re-elected. In accordance with the cooperative’s Code of Regulations, since none of the races were contested, the candidates were deemed elected at the annual meeting without a formal election. Members did cast ballots and adopted three Code of Regulations amendments dealing with patronage capital credit refunds.
Kevin Bishop will begin his 13th year on the board and is currently serving as the secretary. He represents District 1, which includes the cooperative’s service territory in Crawford and Richland counties. In his presentation to the membership, he noted North Central has encountered several challenges during its 81-year history, including blizzards, ice storms, tornadoes, and economic downturns.
“Today, we face many new challenges,” Bishop said. “But here’s what’s important — the ability for electric cooperatives to plan for a dynamic future with our members in mind and the flexibility to do things without government regulations telling us what to do — the right thing. Our communities should be given a fair shake and the opportunity to create our own prosperity. We’re not looking for a handout or special treatment just an even playing field. It’s about our co-ops living out the principles of our movement like concern for community and democratic control.
“When our parents and grandparents set out to electrify rural America, they didn’t have time to ask the person next to them about their views on economic or social policy,” Bishop said. “Their economic policy was we need to save this community, and their social policy was let’s do it together. They had many challenges, and it moves me to think about all the farmers across the nation that at that time were looking for the next greatest thing — electricity.”
Dennis Schindler is the senior member of the board, serving since 1984. He represents District 2, which includes Wyandot County. He is currently North Central’s representative on the Ohio Rural Electric Cooperative Board of Trustees and is currently serving as its chairman. He thanked members for supporting the cooperative by attending the annual meeting.
“I’d like to thank you for your legislative support through the ACRE® (Action Committee for Rural Electrification and the Co-op Owners for Political Action) program. It’s important that our legislators know our opinion and that we vote.” North Central has 375 members of Co-op Owners for Political Action, a nonpartisan political action committee established to support federal and state legislators who support ooperative initiatives.
Nick Wagner starts his second term. He represents District 3, which includes Reed, Thompson, and Venice townships in Seneca County plus the townships in Huron County served by the cooperative.
“It is an honor and a privilege to represent you, the members of North Central Electric, as a trustee. We take our responsibilities seriously and we’re making the best decisions we can to keep this going,” he said.
Three Code of Regulations amendments were overwhelmingly adopted. The first adjusts the dollar figure in which former members can recoup the remaining portion of their patronage capital credit account on a discounted basis if the total remaining balance is $400 or less. It used to be $100.
The second amendment allows the cooperative to publish the list of unclaimed capital credits solely on its website, without having to publish the list in Ohio Cooperative Living magazine in consecutive months. This is consistent with how the state of Ohio names those with unclaimed funds.
The third amendment allows the cooperative to apply the cost of legal fees and other expenses incurred to collect a past-due account against a member’s capital credits account.