Summary of board’s meeting in March

Posted on May 28 2021 in Decatur County REMC

The meeting was opened by Chairman Michael Brelage and Brian Scheidler kept the minutes of the meeting.

All board members were present with Steve AmRhein attending virtually. Also present was CEO Brett Abplanalp and employees Jennie Meyer, Rachel Sullivan and Crystal Greathouse.

Upon motion made by Jason Barnhorst, seconded by Dale Wernke, and carried, the agenda was approved with Carl Riedeman dissenting.

Safety Minute and Cool Moment – Brett Abplanalp

DCREMC hosted high school students and demonstrated what it is to be a lineman. The Operation Round Up grants were rewarded.

February Board Meeting

Upon motion made by Dale Wernke, seconded by Suzanne Parmer, and carried, the minutes for the Feb. 25, 2021, board meeting were approved as amended.

Annual Meeting Voting Review

a. Presentation – Rachel Sullivan

Sullivan presented the timeline of events and talked about what drove the board-approved election process change in 2018. She also presented the goals and objectives of the change and the past three years of data which measured the success of those objectives.

b. Kenny Peters Request to Speak

Sandy Nieman, along with most of the nominating committee, addressed the board regarding the bylaws around the nominating committee’s duties, time to certify the election results and the vote tallying process completed by Survey and Ballot Systems Inc. After lengthy discussion, it was determined that the credentials and election committee should meet to work out a proposal.

Motion: Pay $10 per vote in the upcoming election. Motion introduced by Suzanne Parmer. Motion seconded by Carl Riedeman. Vote was 5-3 against; motion failed.

CEO Update – Brett Abplanalp

The CEO report was reviewed as presented on Call to Order. This included having 2021 goals entered, continuing our vision and strategic planning meetings with legal, rate expert and ops review. The monthly metrics were highlighted, showing a much colder February than the average with no major outages.

Updates were also given for the 2021 strategic projects.

Financial Update – Brett Abplanalp and Jennie Meyer

The financials were reviewed as presented on Call to Order. Although February was cold, our kWh sales were below budget due to the industrials being down a couple days due to snow and parts issues, and the Westport sub was down for maintenance at month end so readings for two days were not available.

This will correct itself in March. We also had lower than budgeted revenue. However, our YTD gross margins are 1.5% ahead of budget. The cash balance is increasing due to factors such as labor, taxes and benefits being 14% under budget. Other controllable expenses are under budget primarily due to timing of expenses as well as plant projects not having started yet per our plan.

Crystal Greathouse updated the board on the front office security remodel project. Phase One will be complete by the middle of the week, windows will be done by Tuesday, then Phase Two will start a couple  of days later. The drive thru will be closed for a couple of weeks but the lobby will be open.


Current disconnects policy and practice need to be addressed.

Motion: Stay with past practice and remove final sentence of the single-phase tariff. Motion introduced by Brian Scheidler. Motion seconded by Carl Riedeman and passed.

2021 Budget Amendments – Michael Brelage

a. Easements

It was discovered that we haven’t been recording easements with the courthouse since 2008. The cost to record all of them is roughly $8,525.

Motion: File the easements. Motion introduced by Jason Barnhorst. Motion seconded by Jeff Lawrence. Motion passed.

b. Vision and Strategy Facilitator

Brett Abplanalp presented a proposal to have Bryan Singletary with Practical Energies facilitate strategic planning.

Motion: Accept the proposal with the dates to be determined. Motion introduced by Jason Barnhorst. Motion seconded by Steve AmRhein. Motion passed with Carl Riedeman dissenting.

Director Training/Conference Report Out – Michael Brelage

Suzanne Parmer attended CCD3640 financial decision making. She stated that it would be a good idea for all directors to take this course within the first 90 days of becoming a director.

Upon motion made by Jason Barnhorst, seconded by Dale Wernke, and carried, the meeting was adjourned  at 8:34 p.m. to executive session and reconvened at 8:50 p.m.

Motion: Approve the SBC trust transfer agreement. Motion introduced by Steve AmRhein. Motion seconded by Dale Wernke. Motion passed.

Motion: Approve the SBC trust resolution. Motion introduced by Dale Wernke. Motion seconded by Carl Riedeman. Motion passed.

The board returned to executive session at 8:52.