Co-Mo Electric Cooperative’s 73rd Annual Meeting took on a decidedly more optimistic tone than in past years. The business meeting featured the election of three directors. It also featured speeches by Co-Mo General Manager/CEO Ken Johnson and Board President Doug Strein. Their reports to the membership took on a much more celebratory tone than in the past few years, when strong federal pushes for climate change regulations threatened to push rates upward by 25 percent or more.
Co-Mo Electric Cooperative’s 73rd Annual Meeting took on a decidedly more optimistic tone than in past years.
The gathering took place May 24 at Tipton High School and was preceded by a meal at the next-door Knights of Columbus Hall. More than 1,300 people attended.
The business meeting featured the election of three directors. All three incumbents — Linda Fry, Gary Harris and Rodney Schad — were returned to their positions by the more than 1,300 members in attendance.
It also featured speeches by Co-Mo General Manager/CEO Ken Johnson and Board President Doug Strein. Their reports to the membership took on a much more celebratory tone than in the past few years, when strong federal pushes for climate change regulations threatened to push rates upward by 25 percent or more.
“It’s certainly not a time to sit back and say there’s no threat anymore, but our members and cooperative members from around the state and around the country have spoken up and been heard by their electric representatives. They said loud and clear that the cap-and-trade regulations that were being talked about were bad for their budgets and bad for this country,” Johnson said.
So instead of calling the Co-Mo membership to action, Johnson talked about the cooperative’s broadband project and the purchase of its new facility next to its Tipton headquarters.
“The cooperative remains in a strong financial position,” Johnson said. “This is an exciting time to be a member of Co-Mo Electric Cooperative. There are so many innovations coming our direction. We’ve weathered a lot of storms — figuratively and literally — in the past five or six years. It’s you, the members, whose loyalty and whose willingness to be active in your participation in cooperative issues that make this a cooperative we can all be proud of.”
Strein’s speech focused on the International Year of Cooperatives, a celebration that began in October 2011 and recognizes the impact cooperatives of all types have on building a better world.
“Whenever a community faces a need — a challenge to make life better — the cooperative business model comes into play,” Strein said. “The values of member economic participation, of democracy, of cooperation among cooperatives, of concern for the community — these things are at the core of the cooperative movement.”
The night was also highlighted by the introduction of a new program. Operation Round Up Plus is an extension of the Operation Round Up program that began in 1997. Through the Plus program, members are encouraged to donate a monthly amount above the change from having their bill increased to the next full dollar. A signup sheet in the members’ gift bags gave them the opportunity to do just that.
The event also featured the presentation of the second-annual O.B. Clark Members First Award. The honor is named after long-time Co-Mo director O.B. Clark, who served the cooperative world on the local, state and national levels.
Margaret Sanders, the cooperative’s accounting clerk, won the honor for organizing a Christmas fundraising drive among employees that allowed Co-Mo to sponsor 18 children on the Commerce Bank Giving Tree. Not only did Sanders collect the money, she did the shopping on Black Friday to take advantage of sales.
“I have such admiration for Mr. Clark. He is such a good, kind man who has given so much of himself to the cooperative world,” she said. “I would like to thank Mr. Clark for setting a great example. I would like to thank for board for recognizing our accomplishment. And I would like to thank my family for making life better for so many, including myself.”