January 21, 2015
The battle goes on ... and on ....
Why? Well, the Augustin Plains Ranch thinks we will quit
and go away. If we do, they win.
Bruce Frederick, attorney defending us in battle, has won
the first two rounds for us: two applications submitted
to the Office of the State Engineer have been rejected.
Now theres a third application.
The State Engineer has the application, but is not publishing
it as he must do before it can be acted upon. He can sit
on it indefinitely (and maybe hope well go away?)
and until it is noticed in local papers we cannot take any
action. So heres what we have to do: 1) watch the
local papers for an announcement of the new application
and 2) protest at that time.
Meanwhile, dont give up. We can win if we hang in
and work together. So far thats what has happened;
you have all been great through seven years of protests,
court cases and games playing by the APR LLC.
11 - Water
grab application sent back (Chieftain)
Augustin Plains water grab
(letter to Chieftain)
of State Engineer to launch updated website (Chieftain)
Water Grab News Here >>
AND AREA NEWS
Kestrel - Magdalena, Jan 2, 2015
16 - Military
study looks at area needs (Chieftain) [new]
Re: the CO2 pipeline proposed to cross Catron County. Representatives
from Kinder Morgan will be hosting a series of public presentations
that will provide a detailed overview of the Lobos Pipeline
project, as well as address questions and concerns from
the general public.
Tuesday, September 9
La Promesa Elementary School
898 HWY 304 Veguita, NM 6PM
Thursday, September 11 -
Quemado High School 3484 US HWY 60
Quemado, NM 6PM
21, 2014 - Water Grab Oral Argument hearing
in SW (Colorado basin) disappearing
Plains submits new application (Cheiftain)
Lorna Wiggins, Wiggins
SEC NEWS AND REPORTS
31 - Review of the new by-law proposal
is good news and bad news from and about the Christensen Report.
The good news: Much of what he is recommending is very good and
should be adopted. Mr. C. stated that the BIG ISSUES are: RATES,
SERVICE, TRANSPARENCY, DEMOCRATIC CONTROL. (the entire phrase
is DEMOCRATIC CONTROL BY MEMBERS). Keep this criteria in mind
as you read the full report which is posted available
here and the co-op
The bad news: Some of what he is recommending is very bad and
would restrict the rights of the members while giving much more
control to the Board of Trustees. Mr. C.'s idea of democratic
control by members is limited to the election of trustees to act
for them. He also stated that the bylaws are a take it or leave
proposition which the members can not amend or change. This is
very odd and I don't think enforceable. SEC money has paid for
this report and it should meet the needs of the SEC members. Dictating
terms is not the job of Mr. Christensen.
Some of the bylaws are confusing. Insight into them may be gained
by reading PART II. BYLAW ANALYSIS for Mr. C.'s reasoning. PART
III. BOARD POLICIES contains some very bad sections designed to
punish particular trustees and stop any dissent. First amendment
rights are discards and all power resides in the Chair. A new
board is the only solution to this problem as the members have
no say in policies and the current board majority will probably
put them into effect very quickly.
Quick actions that would benefit the members are cleansing of
member (voting) lists and redistricting if the members accept
the 7 trustee proposal.
1. Art. I. Table of Contents and Index to the bylaws.
2. ART. II. One member, one vote. Yard lights do not count nor
do secondary services away from primary residences.
3. ART III. Clean up the membership list to give integrity to
voting. The cleaning of the list should begin immediately as it
not dependent on acceptance of Report.
4. Art. IV. Members entitled to receive membership list with names
PROBABLY GOOD IDEAS:
1. Art. V. Board to increase to 7 trustees. The present majority
of 3 of 5 seems to make 7 a better number. This would require
redistricting. Trustees from each district to be voted upon on
an "at large" basis with all members voting on all trustees.
1. Art. IV. Section 4.03 "When notifying Members of any Member
Meeting, the Cooperative shall include notice of any matter which
a Member may raise or discuss, and intends to raise or discuss,
at the Member Meeting if: 1. Requested in writing, by a percentage
of the Total Membership entitled to call a Special Meeting (that
would be 10%) and the Coop. receives the written request satisfying
the member-identification standards set forth in Section 4.02
at least thirty day prior to delivering notice of the Member Meeting.
The Cooperative shall also notice any matter that the Board of
Directors intends to raise or discuss at the Member Meeting.
Art. X. Section 10.01 - Bylaw Amendments. This section refers
to among other issues the amendments that ...any group of members
may by petition containing the names, authenticated signatures,
addresses and account numbers of 500 members, have a proposed
Bylaw amendment included in the agenda and put to vote at the
next Annual Meeting, so long as the petition is received by the
Coop not less than 180 prior to the Annual Meeting. (This is six
months before a date that moves around and is set by the board.)
These sections impose really, really big hoops that members must
jump through to propose an amendment. Trustees can just raise
what they wish. Democratic control??????
These hoops also go against " NM law 62-15-7. Bylaws...bylaws
shall be adopted, amended or repealed by the majority of the members
present at any regular annual meeting or special meeting called
for that purpose, a quorum being present........."
VERY BAD IDEA!
Art. III & Art. VIII. Both of these articles deal with Capital
Credits and need to be closely studied by the members. Mr. Christensen's
Bylaw Analysis should also be studied to ascertain fairness or
unfairness to members.
Art. IV. Section 4.12- Credentials and Election Committee. The
Board appoints and that is a problem while we have the current
board. Mr. C. does not seem to understand the total lack of trust
that exists between the board and the members. Certain things
that would be okay with a respected board should not be attempted
with "the majority of three." Again too much power being
shifted to board.
ART. V. Trustees. This entire section raises many questions. Change
to 7 trustees from 5, terms change from 4 to 3 years, no term
limits, removal of trustees by board with vacancy fill by board.
TRUSTEE COMPENSATION "determined in the Board's reasonable
discretion. Section 5.16 Indemnification of Trustees..... Too
easily used along with "Removal by Board" to punish
disagreement and push private agendas.
ART. VI. Meeting of trustees. As with Art. V, this section raises
many questions that might not exist with a more responsible board
than the present.
ART VII. Section 7.11 Committees. Appointed by Chair which could
"stack" the committee with partisan opinion.
ART X. Miscellaneous. Section 10.01 Bylaw Amendments. This is
the 500 members to propose an amendment section. Section 10.04
-Notice. Makes delivery of "Enchanted Magazine" official
Feedback is coming in from members and will be shared in another
review of the proposed by-laws
By-law change proposal
were received on what the consultant payments were in Dec and
Jan. (see right column) As of this writing, the general
manager refuses to give out the check register to at lest some
of the trustees at the last board meeting. It would do no good
for The Informed Cynic to ask for related documents as their lawyer
already blacklisted us.
SEC has a national reputation as probably the top dysfunctional
co-op. We know this website is watched by people all over the
country who are having the same issues. And an example used in
many suggestions for change have been excellent. Most important
is a rewrite of the by-laws.
another suggestion is voting by mail which should eliminate the
lack of quorum.
trustees are voted on by the full membership, not just the district
they represent. That should eliminate corrupt voting.
negative aspect of all this is the Mr Christensen assumes the
majority of the board works for the member interests. If that
were so, we wouldn't be in this mess. Keep in mind, the foxes
are still in the hen house. Also, Mr Christensen's glowing
attributes assigned to the board lawyer as well as the board chair
was simply embarassing to listen to.
will be presented probably by sometime Friday afternoon, as well
as a full copy of the report and the Power Point presentation
to go with the video.
SEC meeting is tomorrow 10:30a.m. to 5:00p.m. and Thursday 9:00a.m.
to 5:00p.m. Drop in on the meeting when you can.
hometown radio station, 102.1 will broadcast a story about the
meeting tomorrow morning. It will be at the top of the hour following
the national news for every hour starting at 6:00a.m. through
12:00p.m. Support our radio station and SEC member rights.
tell us that the co-op will bring in a professional video crew
and copies of the video will be available at no cost.
25 - Update:
comments concerning next week's two day "Regular Board of
Trustees Meeting" has raised a lot of questions. Some answers
follow, some questions cannot be answered.
1. Why such short notice or no notice at all about the Christensen
report on his audit?
There is no explanation for the somewhat stealth scheduling and
notice of this important report. The December, 2014 meeting of
the board set the probable date for February 18 & 19, 2015
which would have allowed for notice to be contained in billings
to members and other forms of public notice so that members could
know about the report and make plans to attend. Member's money
is paying for this study and report and they have the right to
read the full report accessible from the Firm (Smith & Christensen),
to hear the presentation of the report and to ask questions of
Mr. Christensen. The time of the change of the date is unknown.
The following is known:
Christensen emailed Socorro City officials on 1/20/15 telling
them that he would be presenting his report to the Macey Center
"next week"...... It was the first reference to the
upcoming meeting and report. Mayor Bhasker mentioned the meeting
at the City Council meeting on the same day. He is now attempting
to notify members in the city but time is short. Trustee Wagner
learned of the meeting and report the next morning as he viewed
the tape of the City Council meeting. He had not been consulted
or notified of the meeting and report nor had Trustee Melissa
Amaro. Ms. Amaro received a telephone call Thursday morning from
Chairperson Anne Dorough telling her of the event "so that
she could make arrangements to attend."
The meeting was posted on the Socorroelectric.com website but
that post did not mention Mr. Christensen. The notice of the meeting
in the Chieftain required by the Open Meeting Act did not mention
the purpose of the meeting as specified in Mr. Christensen's contract
or the bylaws of the SEC for a "special meeting." Instead
the two day meeting is referred to on website, advertisement,
etc. as a "Regular Board of Trustees Meeting." The emphasis
on "regular" instead of the proper forms of a "special"
meeting is explained by the Agenda now posted on the SEC website
and attached to this message. Under I. NEW BUSINESS., Sec. 2 BOARD
GOVERNANCE AND MANAGEMENT AUDIT REPORT PRESENTATION. Aaron Christensen
is the first public mention of the Christensen report. Further
down the Agenda listing is M. ADJOURN. "The Open Meeting
Bylaw allows persons be permitted to 'attend and listen.' The
SEC Board meeting is not an open forum and, so long as the Open
Meeting Bylaw is complied with, there will be no public debate
on agenda items and SEC Chair may take steps necessary to maintain
public order". Members can be muzzled at a "regular"
meeting but not at a "special" meeting.
2. Why two days for the report presentation?
Mr. Christensen set the time frame according to his email to the
city. He mentions that he hopes that city officials "will
be able to attend some or all of these sessions." Attend
when you are able and trust that you can fill in the blanks with
the written report. Tapes will be made of the meetings and available
comments and questions on investigation meeting.pdf
comments at the Socorro City meeting.avi
(On potential anti-voting strategies by the board majority)
REPORT ON THE FINDINGS OF THE INVESTIGATION HAS BEEN RE-SCHEDULED:
(See comments below)
of Trustees Regular Meeting will be at the NM Tech Macey Center
over a 2 day period
January 28th, 2015, 10:30 AM
on January 29th 2015, 9:00 AM
Agenda will be available 24 hrs. in advance.
is the agreement between the co-op
and the law firm
21: 1.30PM -
While watching the tape of the City of Socorro's Tuesday night
(1/20/15), Mayor Bhasker mentioned that the report of the Smith
and Christensen law firm was scheduled to be presented to the
SEC Board of Trustees next week. Check the SEC website, click
on News and Events which will take you to Board of Trustees Regular
Meeting notice. The notice States:
Trustees Regular Meeting
January 28th, 2015, 10:30 am to 5:00pm
January 29th 2015, 9:00 am to 5:00pm
New Mexico Tech Macey Center, Socorro, NM
Agenda will be available 24 hrs. in advance.
City of Socorro
officials received a message from Mr. Aaron Christensen (dated
Jan.20th, 1:48pm) informing them of the meeting. Mr. John Larson,
reporter with the "Chieftain" newspaper also received
a note from Mr. Christensen.
As of this writing, (noon, January 21st) Trustee Charlie Wagner
has not been notified of the meeting from either the Board of
Trustees, SEC management or Mr. Christensen. Neither has this
There are several problems with notices to the SEC membership:
Mr. Christensen's firm's contract with the SEC clearly states
under "A. SERVICES TO BE PERFORMED, Section 4. Under completion
of its review, Firm will submit Socorro's General Counsel and
its Board a written analysis and set of recommendations ("Report")
addressing the issues listed above as well as any other issues
or concerns that Firm develops during its review. Mr. Christensen
will personally deliver the Report to the Board during the course
of a special meeting of the Board."
of the SEC Board of Trustees must conform to the Open Meeting
Act in regard to public attendance and notice. And a special meeting
as called for in the Consulting Agreement between the law firm
and SEC calls for special handling. SEC Bylaws, Article III. Meeting
of the Members, Section 5. Notice of Member's Meeting. "Written
or printed notice stating the place, day and hour of the meeting
and, in the case of a special meeting or annual meeting at which
business requiring special notice is to be transacted, the purpose
or purposes for which the meeting is called shall be delivered
not less than ten or more than thirty days...before the date of
the meeting, either personally or by mail, by or at the direction
of the Secretary, or upon a default in duty by the Secretary,
by the persons calling the meeting, to each member..." Obviously,
the notice posted on the SEC website only refers to a "Regular
meeting" and does not list the presentation of Mr. Christensen's
Report which is of great interest to SEC members. Getting the
word out to the members will be difficult with less than a week
to arrange attendance at the special meeting.
arise in regard to this entire matter. Is a special meeting required
by contract without proper notice as required by SEC bylaw even
legal. Keeping this report hidden from the members and Trustee
Charlie Wagner is another issue that Mr. Christensen needs to
above comments for download here
caution when suing over Open Meetings Act
Reorg meeting went as expected with all the usual suspects reelected
to their posts - Anne Dorough, Chair., Dave Wade Vice-Chair, Leo
2015 Strategic Planning Meeting has been pushed out about about
6 months due to scheduling of the investigation by the outside
law firm Smith and Christiansen in February. UPDATE January 20th
- the date of the report has been pushed up to Jan 28th with almost
no public notice. So the strategic planning meeting may be changed
investigation results will take 2 meetings, probably be around
February 18 and 19th. For more information click
here, and scroll down the right column to July 31 comments.
Socorro City Counsel meeting will be Jan 20th - no SEC discussion
on the agenda as yet.
REGULAR BOARD MEETING
18, 2015 - 1PM
(Note one time date change)
Abeyta Ave. NE. Socorro
(Across from the DAV Hall) Map
Investigation Report Web Page
By-law change proposal
2 unapproved minutes & props.
3 unapproved minutes & props
2015 Strategic Planning Meeting:
Postponed until around July, 2015
payments to outside consutants
Wiggins lawfirm - 2014
Jan - $21,458.56
Feb - $12,498.76
Mar - $16,154.77
Apr - $7,438.05
May - $11,901.14 (Includes Annual Meeting)
June - $2,954.84
July - $5,093.48
Aug - 5,341.01
Sep - $4509.25
Oct - $3,602.42
Nov - $8,304.00
Years 2010 to end of 2013 at least
Bryce Wilson, Accountant - in 2014
Jan - $16,202.56
Feb - $13,687.22
Mar - $13,212.39
Apr - $11,335.74 (March 9-22)
May - $17,936.23 (3/30 to 5/13)
June - $14,289.60 (5/11 to 6/4)
July - $10,886.69 (6/15 - 7/3)
Aug - 10,410.27 (7/13 - 8/24)
Sept - 10876.85 (8/13/-8/;23)
Oct - 11,503.26 (9/14 - 10/4)
Nov - $6,087.85 (10/12 to 10/18)
At least $105,000 in 2013
PR Firm 2014
May - $2,889.00
June - $1,081.53
July - $3012.05
PR Firm billing in 2013
City and SEC Franchise Issue
City Council meets on 1st and 3rd Mondays at 111 School
of Mines Road.
Latest Agenda: (Pending)
buy-out webpage click
Click here for more news, and videos
(New district numbers)
on the use of e-mail addresses ending in @socorroelectric.com.
These are reviewed by management staff, and saved. Never assume
privacy. The Ipads issued to the trustees are a way of controlling
what trustees say, read, and correspond to everybody.
1: Leo Cordova
District 2: Charlie Wagner
(safe to use)
District 3: Melissa Amaro
District 4: Dave Wade
5: Anne Dorough -
Lorna Wiggins, Wiggins
CO-OP IN THE NEWS
insurance policy in question (Chieftain)
20 - Chieftain articles:
aims to dissolve SEC (Chieftain)
awareness rises as temps drop
13 - Melissa
Amaro's letter (Chieftain)
City eyes co-op appraisal, upcoming meeting
6 - letters to the editor:
members have right, duty
SEC Co-op News >>>
Lorna Wiggins, Wiggins
COURT CASES INFORMATION
Statutes and Court Rules
Links to previous cases at the top of the page.