Light Up Your Cooperative’s Committees

Lane Electric invites new members to its three member-led committees

By Craig Reed

lots of hands coloring a lightbulb on paperThere is more to Lane Electric Cooperative than just being a member, flipping on the light switch, and paying the power bill.

Interested members can be active participants on one of three co-op committees: Election and Credentials Committee, Nominating Committee, or the Scholarship Committee.

Being a committee member offers additional insight to cooperative concepts—whether it is checking elections and voting procedures, considering nominees for board positions, or evaluating student scholarship applications.

Lane Electric Cooperative encourages members to check the details of each of these committees and, if interested, apply for a position by contacting the co-op at by emailing Lane Electric.

Following are summaries of each committee and comments from committee members.

Elections & Credentials Committee

This committee must have a minimum of three members, but no more than seven. Current members are Jon Lundquist of the Row River District, John Dubin of the Central District, Deanna Hadley of the Oakridge District, and Ron and Judy England of the McKenzie District.

Members are appointed by the co-op’s board of directors and serve three-year terms.

According to the co-op’s bylaws, “The Committee shall establish or approve the manner of conducting member registration and voting, count ballots, announce winners and pass on all questions which may arise with respect to member eligibility to vote or run for the board, the effect of any ballots irregularly or indecisively marked, and election conduct by candidates and advocates.”

John, a six-year member of the committee, says the basic mission is to oversee the voting process during board of director elections, typically in May.

“It’s grassroots democracy at its very, very best,” John says. “To have input to the co-op’s democratic process, to see how the process works, to make sure it’s correct is worth it.”

The committee oversees collection of ballots and hand counts them twice. Elections are usually just for board positions, but sometimes there is an issue on the ballot.

The election averages 700 to 800 ballots annually from a possible 10,500.

Nominating Committee

This committee must have a minimum of five members, but no more than 11. Currently, there are six members: Mike Galvin of the Row River District; Amanda Deedon, Leslie Poole, Sarah MacArthur, and Gary Foster of the Central District; and Bev McCulley of the Oakridge District.

Members are appointed by the co-op’s board of directors and serve three-year terms.

According to the co-op’s bylaws, “The Committee must nominate one or more qualified members for election as a director for each vacancy that is to be filled by election at the annual meeting. The Committee shall provide candidates with information on general director duties, continuing qualification and education requirements, and time commitment. There is no pre-determined process for the Committee to follow when deciding on a slate of candidates, which may or may not include any incumbent.”

Sarah, a four-year committee member, says she enjoys finding and identifying people who can help the cooperative.

“You’re involved in making sure good people are participating in making policy decisions at the board level,” she says. “You have a say in getting good people in those decision-making positions.”

The committee makes sure correct procedures are followed for recruiting potential board members, including sending out notices about upcoming elections and reviewing applications from candidates. If there are concerns about a candidate and the application, the committee can call the person in for an interview.

“I think it is important for all of us who are part of a society to honestly assess how we can contribute based on our knowledge and what we enjoy,” Sarah says. “How we fit into the world around us and become an active member in creating or improving the system around us is important.”

Sarah says becoming a member of the Nominating Committee has been an educational experience. She has learned how a co-op works, issues involved in running an electric co-op, the history of electric co-ops, and the sources of electricity.

“From the education to being able to watch how this co-op functions, I’m delighted to be a part of the committee and the co-op,” she says.

Scholarship Committee

This committee currently has eight members: Kathy Keable and Margaret Beilharz of the McKenzie District; Ingrid Kessler, Meredith Clark and Linda DeSpain of the Central District; Faye Stewart and Jennifer Violet of the Row River District; and Judy Hampton of the Oakridge District. Kathy and Ingrid are also members of the Lane Electric Board of Directors.

Members are appointed by the board of directors and serve three-year terms. This committee extends invitations to schools and students to submit applications for any of five Lane Electric scholarships, reviews the applications, and selects recipients.

Each year, the co-op offers $20,000 in scholarships to help its members begin their college journey or return to school to seek a new career.

The five scholarships are $4,500 to a high school graduate to attend Lane Community College; the $4,500 Dave D’Avanzo Memorial Community Scholarship to attend LCC with the goal of starting a new career; $5,500 to attend a trade school for those interested in line construction and the electric utility industry; and two $3,000 college-of-your-choice scholarships to two- or four-year accredited colleges.

Applicants must be LEC members or dependents of qualifying members.

“I really want to see the kids in any area succeed,” says Judy, a 15-year member of the committee. “I want those rural kids to have the same opportunity any other kids have. Any money I can give them or get for them is well worth any time it might take me being on the committee. There are great kids everywhere trying to go forward, and it’s a pleasure to help them.”

Kathy says the co-op wants to encourage students to further their educations.

“This is a great way to support our members or their students,” Kathy says. “The co-op gives back to the community. This is just one way it does it.”

Ingrid says the scholarships are a good way to recognize the talents and achievements of applicants. Applications must include a letter of introduction describing one’s self and personal goals, a student’s school transcript, a work history, two letters of recommendation, and a short essay explaining, “What is an electric co-op?”

“Serving on this committee is a great way to provide for the future—not just for these individuals, but also to help shape the future of our community at large,” Ingrid says. “These same people will be tomorrow’s leaders. We can help them along their ways.”

She says being on the committee and reviewing the scholarship applications is “a very important investment for our future.”

“It’s part of our commitment to our community,” she adds. “We would love to welcome new members to this great committee.