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Members of Grady Electric Membership Corporation elected two directors on Friday and approved changes to the co-op’s bylaws during the organization’s 81st annual meeting held at Family Worship Center.
Blake Stanaland defeated Russell Fowler in the race for the District 2 directorship, 918 to 686. District 2 most recently was represented by retiring director Ronald Sellars.
District 5 director Samuel (Sammy) Perkins was unopposed and was elected to a full three-year term. Perkins was appointed to the board in January to fill the unexpired term of former director Earl Stuckey, who was forced to resign after a Superior Court judge ruled the E.M.C.’s board violated the co-op’s bylaws by amending them in an attempt to make Stuckey eligible to be a candidate for director.
Grady E.M.C. officials estimate that approximately 400 people were in attendance Friday with about 200 of those being voting members of the co-op. However, Grady E.M.C. announced that 1,444 voting members took advantage of the absentee mail-in voting.
In addition to the election of two directors, Grady E.M.C. members also approved a large number of changes to the co-op’s bylaws. Officials say that only a few of the changes actually changed the intent of the previous by-laws. Some of the changes included: Term Limits, District Voting, Definition of “Close Relative,” a Joint Membership option, and Director Removal.
The revised by-laws can be found at www.gradyemc.com.
This was the first annual meeting for Grady E.M.C.’s new president and C.E.O. Joe Pandy. During his introductory remarks, a photo of Pandy’s then-4-year-old son Jimmy was displayed on the big screen. Jimmy asked to speak at the annual meeting of Mountain Parks Electric Cooperative where the elder Pandy was serving as C.E.O. at the time. “Welcome to our Annual Meeting. Don’t mix water and electricity,” the young Pandy said, which Mr. Pandy said drew laughs back in 2004 and again on Friday.
The employees of Grady E.M.C. were spotlighted at this year’s annual meeting and after a video was shown that highlighted each employee, the employees were asked to come forward and were recognized by the audience.
“It was a heartwarming moment when the membership raised to their feet and applauded the employees who stood together in front of that auditorium,” C.E.O. Pandy said.
Grady E.M.C. board members and key management gave presentations, educating those in attendance about different happenings and accomplishments at Grady E.M.C. and also forecasting future improvements that Grady E.M.C. plans to put in place, ranging from infrastructure for improved reliability to a “pre-pay” option that the co-op hopes to offer within a year.
Presiding over the meeting Friday was board vice chairman Terry Hurst. According to E.M.C. officials, many in attendance commented favorably on the meeting and how it was run. In the past, the co-op’s attorney and auditor ran the meetings. Officials say this year’s meeting had a more “comfortable” atmosphere and several members commented that they had learned more about the co-op and what it means to be a member at Friday’s meeting than at previous meetings.
Chairman of the Board Eric Cohen called the meeting to order Friday at 10 a.m. During his remarks, Cohen told members that the current board and management of the co-op is working for and making decisions with the membership in mind.
A special feature of Friday’s meeting was the first public performance of Cairo High School’s new show choir “The Voices of Cairo.” The choir, under the direction of Joshua Moore performed a set of musical selections ranging from an acapella number to gospel, modern pop, a Christmas song and topped the performance off with a stirring rendition of “God Bless America.”
Board Member Jimmy Hammett led the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the National Anthem, sung by “The Voices of Cairo.”