Co-op difference

Living the cooperative principles


George Carter, Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative’s CEO/general manager, served as a guardian for George (Judge) Forrest of Antwerp on the Sept. 22 Honor Flight.

George Carter, Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative’s CEO/general manager, served as a guardian for George (Judge) Forrest of Antwerp on the Sept. 22 Honor Flight.

In today’s world, we see companies sharing their mission statements and promoting themselves with new slogans or catch phrases. But cooperatives are different.

We are grounded by the seven cooperative principles, which guide our everyday purpose. This magazine is a prime example of the fifth principle — education, training and information. According to this principle, cooperatives will educate their members, provide training and information on their cooperative and help ensure young members understand the benefits of membership. Recently, we had the great opportunity to live out two more principles — democratic member control and concern for community.

Back in September, the Paulding Putnam Electric membership was asked to vote on changes to our code of regulations (or bylaws). Most of the changes were not significant and didn’t impact the operations of the co-op. However, one change was significant: the removal of term limits for trustees. Of the more than 1,200 members who voted, nearly 700 voted to remove term limits. This is a clear sign of democratic member control.

All revisions were approved by the members. (See the cooperative website for actual voting results and the revised code of regulations.) The code of regulations is the governing document for the organization, and it describes how the cooperative will function. Making changes must be deliberate, and changes must be approved by a vote of the membership. The board can recommend changes, but only the membership can approve changes. By taking the time to vote, members accept the responsibility of the principle of democratic member control. I want to thank all those members who accepted this responsibility.

This issue of the magazine highlights our support for the Honor Flight program. There is no greater example of concern for community than our supporting the veterans. I am so proud of our employees, who accepted the January 2016 challenge to raise funds for Honor Flight, and to all the members, who helped us by donating to this great cause. We raised more than $160,000 in six months to fund two full Honor Flights to Washington, D.C., for 78 of our local veterans. I had the great pleasure and honor to be a guardian on the Sept. 22 flight for a local World War II veteran, George Forrest, of Antwerp. This will be the highlight of my career, and it was possible because of our commitment to the principle of concern for community.

Many companies have mission statements, core values and key operating principles, but unless each employee is committed to living those principles, they won’t mean anything. As you can see, at PPEC, we are all committed to living the seven cooperative principles.

Thank you again to all the members who voted recently in the code of regulations election and to everyone who supported our efforts to assist the Honor Flight program. Please never forget the principles we live by, and never forget our nation’s veterans.

GEORGE CARTER is CEO/general manager of Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative.