Monthly Message from the CEO/General Manager
Every month, CEO/General Manager Tony Mallory has a message for our members in Your Co-op Connection in Rural Missouri.
A new normal for annual meeting?
There's something soothing about the never-ending cycle of a year. Yes, short-term, one month might be unusually hot or cold, or rainy or dry. But in the big scheme of things, it’s all part of a larger plan. We know it’s going to get warm in the summer just as surely as we know it’ll get colder in the winter.
Beyond the weather, we’re all familiar with the predictable cycles of human activity. The end of the school year. The start of summer vacation. The county fair. Birthdays. Anniversaries. Holidays.
For many, the co-op annual meeting has always been one of those predictable features of our lives. Every September, we get together for a little fun, food and fellowship. And we take care of the business of this local member-owned electric cooperative.
If this past year has taught us anything, it’s to not take anything or anyone for granted.
What we all thought of as never-ending, inevitable, always-going-to-happen experiences simply stopped in 2020. The ability to gather in large groups – at school, at work, and even among families – suddenly wasn’t possible.
People adapted, of course. We took care of our children and their schooling. We found ways to be safe and collaborate with work colleagues. And we maintained connections with our families.
As vital as those virtual, socially distanced adaptations have been during the pandemic, people yearn for normalcy. Even as the vaccines become more readily available, we wonder when the pandemic will officially end.
What will school classrooms look like in the fall? How long will businesses need to continue masking and capacity limits? Can we hold our usual multi-family Thanksgiving feast in our home this year?
As we enter the summer, planning for the co-op’s September annual meeting of members is in full swing. In fact, the cycle of terms for a seat on our board of directors opens this month. Details about how interested members can petition to be on the ballot can be found elsewhere in this newsletter.
We know for sure that we’ll be able to handle the director election this year because we did it last year. All voting last year was by mail-in or online balloting. Lots of incentives and random prizes for remote, advance voting helped bring in near-record numbers of participating members. Those options will still be in place for the 2021 election. Watch for details in next month’s newsletter.
To bring us back to a more-normal cycle, we’re working toward holding an in-person meeting on Sept. 15. However, prudent planning dictates that an in-person event will need to be a little different than we’re used to.
Mainly, we’re planning to shorten the overall length of the event.
There will be no “sit down” meal or afternoon of listening to a band and drawing for prizes. Everything will happen in the morning starting at 8 a.m. In-person voting in the director election will be available from 8-11 a.m. only. Entertainment and prizes will occur mainly between 8 and 10 a.m. The business session will start at 10 a.m., and registered members will be offered a boxed lunch (Cattlemen brisket sandwich) to go after the last prize is awarded at the close of the business session.
We’ll follow public health guidance regarding the in-person gathering and adapt our plans as the pandemic situation becomes clearer later this summer. If need be, we’ll have “Plan B” ready to take it virtual, but that’s not our preference.
Keep in mind: Members of this cooperative are always welcome to contact us with any question or concern you may have. You don’t need to be at annual meeting to talk with your co-op employees or directors.
The remote, advance balloting (mail-in and online) will continue to be an excellent way for members to participate in the business of their cooperative. Vote when it’s convenient for you; win prizes without leaving the comfort of your home.
Maybe that is the new normal.