We all have a product or brand we loyally purchase time after time. With that in mind, consider how many times the CEO of the company making that product has asked you to vote for the board of directors or offer input into business decisions. For most people, the answer is few to none. Electric cooperatives are the exception. We do exactly that.
When the Rochdale Principles were first penned in 1844, our forefathers probably never imagined they would be driving business decisions over 150 years later. But these seven principles have sustained countless co-op ventures through history, including Bartholomew County REMC:
- Voluntary, open membership
- Democratic member control
- Members’ economic participation
- Autonomy and independence
- Education, training and information
- Cooperation among cooperatives
- Concern for community
- Democratic member control
The second principle, democratic member control, embodies the concept that all members of the cooperative help drive decision making. They not only participate, all members have an equal level of participation.
Electric cooperatives may have a CEO, department managers and employees, but the control of the cooperative is undoubtedly in the hands of the board of directors that represent you.
Board of directors
Unlike other organizations that hand-pick wealthy business owners or politically active community leaders, electric cooperatives look to the members to select the board of directors.
Bartholomew County REMC has seven directors, members themselves, elected by the membership, who serve three year terms on the board. Elections are held at our annual meeting of members.
One member, one vote
This summarizes the idea that no matter how large or small, all members have equal democratic control. It means that members with more money, size or power are given no greater control in cooperative decision making.
In contrast, investor-owned utilities look to those who have the greatest financial interest in the company for decision making.
Much like our nation’s election day, electric cooperatives hold an annual meeting for members once each year. It’s really one of the highlights of the year at BCREMC. The annual meeting gives us an opportunity to interact with members, hear their questions or concerns, give a summary of the year’s activities, and elect our directors. It sets us apart from almost every other type of business.
This year the annual meeting will be Tuesday, April 16 at the Columbus North High School Auditorium. You are encouraged to attend. We know your time is valuable, so we make good use of it. You can look forward to an informative and entertaining gathering that reminds you that you’re part of something special.
In mid-March, voting ballots and the REMC 2018 Annual Report will be mailed to all members. Use the enclosed ballot to vote for your board of directors and nominating committee members. It’s easy. Either mail in your ballot, vote online or vote at the annual meeting. We want to make it as easy as possible for you to place your vote. Thank you for participating in your cooperative voting process!