Grady EMC election now underway, return ballots immediately
Members of Grady EMC should have already received official mail-in ballots for the upcoming election of new directors, but if not, members should contact the EMC.
Survey & Ballot Systems of Eden Prairie, MN is once again conducting the mail-in voting, which was first debuted last year.
A total of six candidates are seeking election to three seats on the board. None of the incumbents from Districts 1, 4 or 7 are seeking reelection. The incumbents are Dewey Brock Jr., District 1; Mark Clark, District 4; and James Lewis, District 7.
In District 1, voters will select between Eric Cohen and Edward J. DeMartini Jr.
Cohen is a native of Brinson, graduate of Bainbridge High School, and resident of Grady County. He earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Georgia in 2000. He is the owner of Cohen Crop Consulting, co-owner of R&E Pecan Growers LLC and Pecan Ridge Plantation. Cohen is also a licensed real estate agent with Southern Land Realty. He currently serves on the boards of the University of Georgia Alumni Association and the Grady County Lake Authority. He has been a member of Grady EMC since 2007.
DeMartini is a retired Commander with the U.S. Navy and former Naval Junior ROTC instructor in both Tampa and at Cairo High School. He served for 21 years as a Surface Warfare Officer before rising to the rank of Commander.
Following retirement, he has gotten involved with the American Legion Post 122 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8433.
The District 4 seat is being sought by Terry Hurst and Mitch W. Stone.
Hurst, is a native of Thomas County and has been involved in the building supply industry for 33 years and worked in management for 27 years. He is currently the general manager of Naval Store Suppliers. His duties include the day-to-day operations of Southern Builders Supply, TLC Millworks, Southern Installed Sales and TLC Liquidations. Hurst is also the pastor of New Shiloh Baptist Church.
Stone is semiretired having worked with Southern Bell, BellSouth and AT&T for 39 years while at the same time farming 500 acres. He is the former owner of Stone Pecan of Barwick. Stone currently serves as president of the Barwick Chamber of Commerce and he is a lifetime resident of Thomas County.
Greg Brouillet and Steve Reynolds are seeking the District 7 post.
In information provided by the candidate, Brouillet says his experience as a salesman, project manager, operations manager, director and business owner would provide him a balanced outlook as an EMC director. His biographical information does not indicate what his line of work is, but it indicates he has an associate’s degree in business administration.
Reynolds, a Grady County native, served in Vietnam with the U.S. Marine Corps. He retired with 36.5 years of service with BellSouth and then spent 11 years in telecommunications with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Reynolds is a Master Mason and member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He is the owner of SAR Properties and former owner of Bainbridge Engraving and Awards.
DeMartini, Stone and Reynolds are involved in the Take Back Our Grady EMC organization and have been endorsed by the group of members disgruntled with the incumbent board and management of Grady EMC.
Cohen, Hurst and Brouillet have advertised themselves as a slate of directors that is not affiliated with Take Back Our Grady EMC, but is focused on being accountable to the membership and providing sustainable, safe, affordable and reliable electricity to the members of Grady EMC.
Ballots must be returned to Eden Prairie, MN no later than Oct. 15 to be included in the vote tabulation.
Per the ballot instructions, ballots must be filled in completely. Squares beside each candidates’ name selected must be colored in and not checked or X’d out.
Last year, members could deposit ballots at the EMC headquarters, but per the ballot instructions and signs posted at Grady EMC, ballots will not be accepted at EMC headquarters this year.
The Messenger requested additional information from Grady EMC about the absentee voting, but officials said a news release would not be provided until next week.
In order to provide members a reminder that ballots should have been received and that the ballots must be returned to Eden Prairie by Oct. 15, waiting until the Oct. 10 edition of the newspaper would be too late to update the members on the election.
Members may cast their vote in-person at the EMC’s annual meeting to be held on Friday, Oct. 19.
Mail-in ballots were added last year at the request of the Take Back Our Grady EMC group as a convenience for members who would like to participate in the election of directors but could not attend the annual meeting, which is held during the work day.
After years of being dominated by directors who had served for decades, and in some cases for generations, the EMC board, following the 80th annual meeting on Oct. 19, will not have a single director sitting on the board who has served for more than two years.
Last month, the board voted 4-2 to remove District 6 director Gordon Clyatt, one of the founders of the Take Back our Grady EMC organization, after he allegedly had the electric service at his primary residence put in the name of his wife, which according to EMC board chairman Earl Stuckey, made Clyatt ineligible to serve as an EMC director. The board named James Hammett as Clyatt’s replacement and he is set to serve the remainder of Clyatt’s unexpired term, which ends in October 2020.