Thursday, October 26, 2006

GVEA closed policies, G&T actions and more

The GVEA board met Oct. 23, 2006 and took action on a number of items, even if I wasn't there (:-).

They approved the ballot to go to the GVEA membership. There are two ballot items, one to allow all but board members and spouses to participate in Alternative Energy programs (SNAP), where currently extended relatives and employees can't. This isn't controversial and makes sense for as many people as possible to participate in everyone's best interest.

The second ballot measure is the transfer of GVEA power plants and hi voltage transmission lines to a separate company, GVEA G&T, that is run by GVEA (board and staff), not by the members. There was a motion approved to have the board of GVEA be the representatives on the GVEA G&T. The motion to approve this ballot measure and the vote on the bylaws themselves referenced in an earlier blog was 5-1, with board member Tom Delong on record opposing the G&T transfer.

An interesting aspect is that, now that the board took a vote in the affirmative, ALL board members are supposed to officially support it. This is in accordance to a board policy that was written to insure that the board appears to be all one big happy family to the public. They would likely say that they don't want to be like other more fractious utilities in Alaska like Chugach or MEA.

This policy is very undemocratic and unhealthy, much like my view of some national administrations. GVEA will argue this is common for private companies, but GVEA is a quasi-public company that represents 35,000 families and businesses throughout Interior Alaska, more than the Fairbanks North Star Borough, the school district, and certainly any Interior city. Democracy can be messy, but the outcome of actions becomes better than under the veil of secrecy.

I've thought that this stifles the ability and responsibility of board members to communicate to their constituents. Even the MAC Committee, supposed to foster this communications, is pretty much just a small extension of the board. The membership as a whole remain cut out unless they actively jump in. GVEA doesn't even list the MAC member contact info on the website. I asked for this list from GVEA, but got no response, as the posted list is out of date. Why doesn't GVEA have a way for directors to communicate with their constituents? I'd feel claustrophobic as a director.

I was told that the last and only time the G&T company met was in July 2005, despite a requirement to hold annual meetings. The minutes are not publicly available as they haven't been approved. Now that the G&T board is totally different, it seems odd to have people who weren't present approving the minutes.

I'm told that Dwight Nissen, board member from Delta area district, resigned for health reasons. Nominations are already being taken.


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