Letter to the Editor

Resident has concerns about REMC spending

Monday, March 21, 2016

To the Editor:

The other night, I attended a meeting of REMC members. A copy of our REMC salaries, board member pay, rates, expenses and debts was passed out to all in attendance. The first thing that stood out was a supposedly $45 million debt. Secondly, CEO pay of $190,000 plus benefits, equally $236,000. Board members average $33,746, which included an insurance package.

There were donations in 2014 of $195,000, plus the roundup on bills being another $60,000-$70,000.

Anyway, the list goes on and on. Needless to say, there was a lot of anger expressed by the members because I don't think anyone expected such large figures.

However, let me get by get by all of this. For years, I have heard members (owners) express outrage with REMC. Whether it be rates, giveaways, facility charges, etc.

The one thing, however, that stands out to me is the complaint that board members seem to be elected for life, with the requirements for voting being, for example, no ballots can be mailed to the members; instead, you must be present at the annual meeting.

One board member told me that if they don't give away so many prizes at this meeting,t here wouldn't be enough members to have a quorum and there would not even be a vote.

Now, as a member, I would like to see more openness by the board and CEO. Example in the paper passed out at the meeting the other night, it was discussed that REMC had purchased the old Bloomfield Processing property (8.3 acres) for $384,000, and that it may require another $95,000 in cleanup. The reason for the purchase is to build a new $38,000-square foot office building, costing an estimated $8 million to $10 million.

This is the first I had heard about this as it was for many members. It was suggested that we should attend the board meetings. But it was disclosed that before any member (owner) could do so you must go to the office and register to attend, otherwise you as a member (or owner) could not attend.

Now I thought: Why?

You can attend any government meeting, city, county, etc. without registering in advance and these people are elected also, so why the REMC requirement?

Our REMC, it was disclosed, has the highest rates of any REMC under the Hoosier Energy umbrella. Why?

Anyway, here's my main point: Why can't ballots be mailed to all members to vote on board member elections. Also, let's set term limits on serving, maybe two terms instead of making it a lifetime position.

Let's be more open, publish the amount and to whom we are giving donations to.

Example: Bet you didn't know we gave $6,000 towards rings for the Linton football team.

Open up the board meetings so any member (owner) can attend the board meetings when they want.

Before large purchases such as the land and the new office is built, send a questionnaire out to members and let them vote, because they will have to pay for it.

In other words, let's start taking care of the expenses and debits much better. Remember a lot of members are the young and old and they don't make that huge salary and benefits. Try to remember, REMC's were started to provide a few with huge salaries and benefits.

Lastly, try harder to represent the members by taking better care of them by being more open, easier access, and not so much giveaway.

I am providing a list of all members. Email them, send a letter or call and let them know how you feel about a new $8 million to $10 million dollar office building. Plan to attend the March 26 meeting, and ask questions.

Also, to all members: If you want a list of all the debt, expenses, salaries, rate comparisons etc., they are available.

No representation regarding the completeness, accuracy or timeliness of any information is made. Individuals reading this data should make their own determination of its accuracy. Not responsible for damages resulting from the use or reliance upon this information and data.

Thank You,

Scott Richards.