Bailey County Electric 82nd Annual Meeting is drive-through eventGail M. Williams, Muleshoe Journal Correspondent September 3, 2021 0 COMMENTS
On Tuesday, Aug. 24, Tuesday, from 4:30 p.m.-7 p.m., Bailey County Electric Cooperative members lined up in cars, vans and pickups for the 82nd annual meeting at 610 E. American Blvd.
This is the second year in a row that members have been able to register, pick up meals for themselves and their families and vote for board members from their vehicles.
“Just over 11.2 percent of our membership attended last year, and 10.5 percent attended this year,” said BCEC administrative assistant Suzie Brown. “Those are among our highest years for participation in our meeting. We received a lot of good feedback from it.”
The rise in COVID case numbers was the reason for the drive-through format last year and factored into the decision to use the same format this year.
“The decision was made out of consideration for the safety of both our members and our workers,” Brown said.
This year more than 150 members attended and around 350 meals, consisting of chicken strips, gravy, coleslaw, potato salad, cookies, roll and bottled water, were served.
“We’ve gotten a number of comments on what a good meeting it was and feedback telling us what a great meal it was,” Brown said.
The number of door prizes was expanded from three last year to 51 this year.
“This year’s prize was a large canvas tote bag containing a Smashlight. That’s a flat acrylic flashlight that can fit into a purse, backpack, briefcases, small spaces in your car – you name it,” Brown said. “It’s really fun.”
The first drive-through station allowed members to register to vote, the second let them cast their ballots, and the third let them pick up their food.
Two districts were involved in the election this year. In District 1, Clay Grant ran against incumbent Ronnie Altman, and in District 2, Coby Summers ran against incumbent Keith Hicks. Altman was re-elected in District 1, and Hicks was re-elected in District 2.
The election is overseen by an independent election committee.
“The four committee members oversee the three stations at the drive-through,” Brown said. “At the first station, they receive their annual report, an affidavit and their ballot. The second station is the voting station. Only election committee members man the second station. At the third station, they receive their meal.
“After the ballot boxes are taken in, they’re unlocked, the ballots are counted and the election is certified. Election committee judges are non-members, and no employees are related to the judges.”
Members of the board of directors serve three-year terms.
“The rotation determines who goes off and on,” said BCEC president David Marricle. “The directors rotate in or out, or they’re re-elected. They can serve as long as they’re re-elected.”
The cooperative’s 42 employees helped run the drive-through meeting.
“They did everything from directing traffic to helping caterers prepare the meal boxes, to distributing the meals,” Brown said. “Some of them helped the computer folks with registration. Every employee had a specific duty. We worked together as a coop to set it up and tear it down. We worked together to make it a very successful event.”
“The drive-through meeting went great,” Marricle said. “Over 150 members attended, well above our normally attended meetings. All of our employees were in touch with the members and seemed to have a good time interacting. I would like to see it done again, but the board of directors has the ultimate say on whether or not we’ll see them again.
“This cooperative would not exist without our membership. Our members are our customers; they buy electricity, and they elect the seven-member board of directors to represent our cause.”
Marricle is the husband of Terry Marricle, coordinator of Snak Pak 4 Kids Muleshoe.
“Our whole family as well as the coop is involved in Snak Pak 4 Kids,” Marricle said. “The coop is involved in lot of things behind the scenes. Even though BCEC does not serve community of Muleshoe, we’re very much involved in community projects as well as in the communities of Morton, Earth and the Lazbuddie areas.
“Employees are encouraged to serve on boards, in service organizations and whatever else they may be in.”