At most electric
cooperatives, the only qualification for being a director is to be
a member in good standing. The bylaws don’t say directors
have to be an expert on the complexities of power supply, or know anything
at all about financing, environmental issues, workers compensation, the
cooperative movement or setting electricity rates.
Yet these issues
and many, many more are all part of the electric cooperative director’s
job. At any given board meeting, your directors find themselves faced
with a bewildering array of challenges the typical rural person would
never be expected to comprehend.
cooperatives do not exist in a vacuum. From the early days they understood
that to survive in a difficult business climate they had to cooperate.
By pooling their meager resources the cooperatives established the Association
of Missouri Electric Cooperatives and the National Rural Electric Cooperative
work with local systems to provide training and other resources so
that directors can learn the many skills required of them to be quality
I’m proud to
report Missouri’s directors take
their job of overseeing these multi-million dollar businesses seriously.
In 2005 our national association decided to honor the states with
the most directors achieving Credentialed Cooper-ative Director status.
This distinction comes only after completing a lengthy and difficult
set of director training courses.
Missouri not only
led its region in the number of certified directors, it was also the
top state in the nation. It was a proud day when Carl Lowrance, a director
from Laclede Electric in Lebanon and president of the statewide association,
accepted the honor on behalf of Missouri’s directors.
director certifications in hand, many of these directors wasted
no time in working on a new distinction. In time they can receive the
Board Leadership certificate.
Being a director
is not an easy job. The issues these men and women must deal with require
putting their own best interests aside and acting instead for the greater
good of the entire membership. Electric cooperative directors get the
unwelcome job of, on occasion, raising their own rates. What other
business has directors who do this? There
are times when their own business suffers because of more pressing duties
at the cooperative.
This summer as you
attend your electric cooperative’s
annual meeting, take a moment to thank the directors who represent you
on the board. They are a tremendous bunch of leaders who carry out
their heavy responsibilities because they know they are representing
their friends and neighbors who elect them.
Affordable and reliable
electricity and high customer satisfaction ratings in rural Missouri
are good indicators that your directors are dedicated and their commitment
is paying off.
Hart is executive vice president of the Association
of Missouri Electric Cooperatives.