FREESTATE ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, INC.
ANNUAL MEETING MINUTES
APRIL 23, 2019
The Annual Meeting of FreeState Electric Cooperative, Inc. was held on Tuesday, April 23, 2019, at the Perry-Lecompton High School’s Theatre located at 404 Lecompton Road in Jefferson County, Kansas.
The President, Jeanine Murphy, called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m. Perry American Legion Post 142 Kansas presented our colors, and cooperative employee Randy Wager, gave the invocation.
The President recognized FreeState staff for organizing the Annual Meeting, Perry-Lecompton High School for hosting the event, American Legion Post 142 for the presentation of our colors, and Capital City Oil for cooking the meal for the evening. The President introduced the Board of Trustees and cooperative guests in attendance.
At 7:10 p.m., the President informed guests that there is a quorum, and proceeded with the first order of business, approving the 2018 annual meeting minutes located in the Annual Re-port. The President entertained a motion to approve the minutes as printed. After a motion and a second from the floor, the President declared: that the minutes of the April 24, 2018 Annual Meeting were approved.
Board Secretary, Don Montgomery, read the “Notice of the Annual Meeting” to the membership.
The President invited the candidates on the ballot to introduce themselves on stage. Members were asked to cast any remaining votes, and FreeState staff collected remaining ballots.
The President introduced the Cooperative Attorney, Jake Pugh. Mr. Pugh thanked the nominating committee for their service to the cooperative. Mr. Pugh announced that 1,547 votes were cast via mail. Mr. Pugh asked nominating committee members to participate in the counting of the ballots cast at the Annual Meeting.
The President introduced Larry Butel, Board Treasurer. Mr. Butel presented FreeState’s financial report and discussed the 2018 financial audit, which examined the cooperative’s accounting records and procedures to verify accuracy and compliance with accepted standards. Mr. Butel referenced the two-year comparative operating statement in the Annual Report.
Jeanine Murphy gave her President’s report. The President discussed the evolution of cooperative operations and governance, including the move away from leadership silos, to a more collaborative and engaging approach to achieve success. The President talked about how the 2017 consolidation was the first step in evolving parallel to the industry by addressing changing working environments and closely examining best practices from cooperatives across the state, and the nation. The President explained that the cooperative has developed a collaborative culture of facilitating problem-solving which allows the cooperative to keep a members-first mentality when making decisions. The President further explained that cooperative members are owners who invest in their cooperative and expect a return on that investment, which is our goal each year, in addition to providing the best service possible.
The President then introduced Steve Foss, CEO, to present the evening’s “State of the Cooperative” address. Mr. Foss discussed many successes and milestones of the cooperative, including the administration of the member survey, in which the cooperative gathered information to look at ways we could improve and tailor programs to better serve the members. Mr. Foss further stated that the cooperative has managed to reach a milestone of 1 MW of renewable power and continues to remain updated on the solar and renewable industry, including finding ways we can help members who want to take a step towards generating their own power. Mr. Foss provided an overview of the Co-op Connections program, as well as the multiple options available to members to pay their bill and monitor their account and energy usage. Mr. Foss provided an overview of the money given back to members throughout the year, including the consolidation savings adjustment to all FreeState members, the margin stabilization adjustment to East District members, as well as capital credit retirements equal to $750,000. Mr. Foss continued to provide an update on the Operation Round-Up program, which gave $64,980 during 2018, totaling $113,460 to date and serving 27 organizations across the cooperative’s service territory. Mr. Foss recognized and thanked the Operation Round-Up member committee, including the committee chair, Brad Parker, as well as Melinda Harwood, Deron Johnson, Carol Marple, and Morgan Starcher for their time and efforts in serving on the committee to ensure that charitable donations are going to causes that will make a difference in our communities. Mr. Foss continued to discuss the economic growth in areas of our service territory, as well as the work the cooperative has done to support development and assist leaders in making our service area attractive to commercial ventures. Mr. Foss also discussed cooperative advantages including our 50-year contract with Fort Leavenworth which has proven to be a wise investment and constant revenue stream for the cooperative, as well as the advantages of having two power suppliers, including KEPCo in our East District and Westar in our West District, which allows a diverse portfolio helping to control costs and maintain service and reliability. Mr. Foss concluded his speech by providing an overview of the cooperative’s long-range workplan, which will include system improvements and technology upgrades to ensure a safe and secure system for our power infrastructure and member information.
The President returned to the podium and invited Suzanne Lane, CEO from KEPCo, to join the stage. Mrs. Lane thanked the staff and board for including KEPCo in the Annual Meeting. Mrs. Lane explained that KEPCo is the power supplier for the East District FreeState members. Mrs. Lane further explained that KEPCo works to provide the power supply and transmission needs of their 19 member cooperatives. KEPCo has been able to keep rates stable, ensure reliability and provide cost effective power.
The President returned to the podium and asked the membership if there was any old or new business to report. There was no old business or new business to discuss.
The President asked cooperative attorney, Jake Pugh, to announce and certify the results of the trustee election. Mr. Pugh read the results of the trustee election and confirmed 1,547 ballots were cast by mail, and 81 ballots were collected at the Annual Meeting, totaling 1,628 votes. Mr. Pugh read the results of the trustee election:
- West Position 1 = Mark Wulfkuhle
- East Position 1 = Harlan Hunt
Mr. Pugh confirmed that the results of the election have been certified by Survey and Ballot, as well as himself and Michelle Meyer, FreeState’s Accounting Manager.
The President congratulated those elected to represent the cooperative. She proceeded to recognize two trustees who are retiring following the Annual Meeting ceremony. She continued to explain that the board has decided to not fill the vacating positions, and the board will now consist of nine (9) total trustees. The first retiring trustee is Dallas Caster who has served the cooperative since 1987. The second retiring trustee is Mark Gratny who has served multiple terms on the board, beginning in 2002 for 9 years, and reelected in 2014. Mr. Caster and Mr. Gratny have earned several credentials through the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association including the director gold credential, the highest credential earned for an electric cooperative board member. In honor of their accomplishments and service to the cooperative, Mr. Caster and Mr. Gratny were presented with a plaque and a meter lamp as a token of appreciation for their years of service to the cooperative and members. Both Mr. Caster and Mr. Gratny thanked the membership for entrusting them in their positions on the board.
The President then asked Sarah Farlee, FreeState’s Public Relations and Marketing Specialist, to assist in drawing for the door prizes. Sarah moved forward with announcing the winning numbers of all prizes, totaling 13 prizes.
At 7:54 p.m., after a motion and second from the floor, the President declared the meeting adjourned.