Lynn Tobey and Bill Kornrich said that none of their group – PVEC Member Voices – had been involved in the co-op in any way – “we were member owners but we just paid our bills and that was it”– but were moved to challenge the board after it sprayed pesticide on residents’ property. It had a legal right to do so, to keep the area around its power lines clear to avoid outages, but did not notify residents.
Then the member group learned that board members were serving for an average of more than 20 years. PVEC Member Voices says the board appoints the nominating committee for elections – which in turn keeps nominating the same candidates in a “self-perpetuating system”.
This inspired PVEC Member Voices to challenge for three seats at the 2018 board election.
They say the board’s response to these interventions was hostile, with members viewed as an obstructive inconvenience. But the member group stopped short of mounting a legal challenge because, says Ms Tobey, “the relationship between the board and the group was hostile enough … we wanted to be partners”.