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Grady EMC members to gather Friday

The hotly contested election for two seats on the Grady Electric Membership Corporation’s board of directors will come to a head Friday morning, but a final decision may not be made in at least one race.
The District 3 race, which includes incumbent director Lamar Carlton, challengers Hestell Donaldson Jr., and Richard R. (Ricky) Smith, may drag on, according to Grady EMC officials.
The bylaws of Grady EMC require a candidate to garner a majority to win election and with three candidates, a run-off could be required.
Grady EMC bylaws in Section 4.07(e) specifically state, “Directors shall be elected by a majority vote of the members casting ballots. Should no candidate receive a majority vote, then a run-off ballot shall be taken between the two candidates receiving the greatest number of votes. The run-off election shall be conducted immediately at that Annual Meeting, or if such meeting has adjourned or there does not remain a quorum in attendance, as soon thereafter as is practicable.”
Grady EMC President and General Manager Thomas A. (Bo) Rosser Jr., said this week that run-off ballots have been prepared in the event of a run-off election at Friday’s meeting. If a run-off is required but cannot be conducted at Friday’s annual meeting, Rosser said the Election Committee of Grady EMC chaired by Gus Mango, has indicated the run-off may be conducted through absentee ballots using the same third-party vendor that EMC is using for this year’s directors election. This election is historic since it is the first time EMC members have been given the opportunity to elect directors by absentee ballot.
With only two candidates vying for the District 6 seat, members will make a final decision between incumbent Robert E. Lee and challenger Gordon Clyatt on Friday.
Friday’s election pits incumbent directors against challengers who say they are seeking to bring change to the management of Grady EMC. Clyatt has been a vocal critic of the board and management of the EMC for the last several years and was instrumental in organizing the Take Back Our Grady EMC committee.
Among the questions that have been raised in the campaign about the board’s decisions in the past include, but are not limited to, investing members’ money in a for-profit Grady County bank, loaning money to former Grady EMC President Thomas A. Rosser Sr., allowing EMC mechanics to work on Rosser Sr.’s sports car collection, the storing of the cars at the EMC, bonuses paid to Rosser Sr., as well as the six figure salaries paid to Rosser Sr. and Rosser Jr., and a $3.8 million renovation of the Grady EMC headquarters.
Grady EMC employees have taken a position in the election and many of them have publicly announced they support the reelection of the incumbent directors. Employees placed a paid advertisement in the Oct. 11 edition of The Cairo Messenger endorsing the incumbent board and current management.
Absentee ballots were due back in the hands of Survey & Ballot Systems Inc., in Eden Prairie, MN by Monday, Oct. 16.
Grady EMC will host its 79th annual meeting once again at Family Worship Center, 1760 U.S. 84, on Friday, Oct. 20. Registration and voting gets underway at 8 a.m. for members who did not vote absentee.
Grady EMC members received their annual meeting registration cards as well as a proposed bylaws change, that was not included on the absentee ballot and will only be voted on by members eligible to vote in person at Friday’s meeting.
According to Rosser, the board is recommending, after considering the suggestions made by members at last year’s annual meeting, that  the nominating committee be eliminated and instead require that all candidates for the board (both incumbents and challengers) submit a member petition.  
Rosser also explained that the absentee ballot process described in section 4.07 of the bylaws applies only to “contested director elections.”
The Grady EMC manager said that other EMCs have retained “in-person” voting on bylaw amendments because member discussion of the merits of such proposals is helpful to ensure thorough consideration of changes to the EMC’s government document.
According to Rosser, the proposed bylaw change has been posted at least 60 days prior to the annual meeting at the EMC headquarters and was included in the official notice of the annual meeting.
Rosser says the bylaws require the official notice to be mailed more than five but less than 60 days prior to the annual meeting. “As has been done for many years, we mail the official notice close to the five day requirement to ensure our members have their registration card close to the meeting for convenience, which is included in the notice of the meeting, and to serve as a final reminder of the meeting. Our members have been notified prior to this mailing of the meeting time and location in our newsletters,” the Grady EMC president said.
The business meeting is tentatively scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., but could be delayed to allow all members present time to vote.
SBS Inc. will transmit the results of the absentee balloting and an electronic list of all members who voted absentee to the EMC no later than 4 p.m. on Oct. 19.
According to EMC officials, the results will be locked away in a lock box along with ballots that are dropped off in advance to the EMC headquarters and unsealed by Election’s Committee Chairman Gus Mango at the conclusion of balloting on Friday, Oct. 20.

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