Thank you for your continued support of our member-owned electric cooperative. As you may know, our Northern Electric board of directors meets monthly to govern the business and affairs of the cooperative. One of the responsibilities that falls to our board is to periodically review Northern Electric’s bylaws. The cooperative’s bylaws were last amended by the membership in 2012 and have not been thoroughly reviewed since the last merger in 1997. After 26 years, the Northern Electric board of directors voted unanimously in February to propose restated and amended bylaws to the membership for a vote.
The board formed a committee more than a year ago in January 2022 to begin this review. The committee laid out the following goals when doing its review:
Modernize the language and provisions.
Simplify and clean-up language.
Ensure any changes would be for the benefit of all members and align with cooperative principles.
Seek member input during the committee review process.
The board provided notice to the members that the board had formed a committee and sought feedback in the April 2022 issue of Cooperative Connections. The committee met several times between February and May 2022 and unanimously recommended a set of updates and revisions. Over the next several months, the full Northern Electric board of directors reviewed those changes, provided feedback, and decided to notify the membership at the 2022 annual meeting that a revised set of bylaws would be presented to the membership for their review and approval in the coming months.
At the February 20, 2023, board meeting, the board unanimously agreed to a final version for the members to consider and vote on via mail. The version the board is recommending for member approval is a restatement, which is a package of changes that is voted on at the same time. The entire copy of the recommended restatement will be mailed out to every member along with a ballot and a postage-paid ballot envelope at the end of March. All ballots must be returned to a Northern Electric office in Bath, SD, or Redfield, SD, by 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 20. Ballots must be sealed in the provided postage-paid ballot envelope and can either be mailed to one of the cooperative offices or dropped off in person. All ballots, however, must be received by the end of the day on April 20 to be counted. The full voting instructions will be included in the mailing.
The committee and board have worked with its legal counsel and management for more than a year finalizing this restatement for our members to consider and vote on. We encourage you to please take the time to read through the restated and amended bylaws when you receive them in the mail and contact your local director with any questions about the proposed restatement. Please, watch your mailboxes during the first week of April for your official ballot and a full copy of the amended and restated bylaws. The board appreciates your support to modernize our cooperative’s bylaws.
By: Nolan Wipf
Northern Electric Cooperative Board President