This year’s St. Croix Electric Cooperative Annual Meeting was like no other: To protect the health and safety of members, directors and employees (and in recognition that not all members have access to the internet for a virtual meeting) this year’s meeting was held Drive-In style!
Thanks to the generosity of nearby Peace Lutheran Church in Baldwin, who loaned the co-op the FM radio transmitter they’ve been using for drive-in worship services, the 34-minute meeting (quite possibly the shortest ever) was broadcast into the 60-plus vehicles parked in the co-op headquarters’ parking lot in Hammond.
Beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 16, members were greeted by masked Directors and employees wearing reflective vests at the north end of the garage and 90 registered by turning in the mailing labels from their Annual Reports. At the other end of the garage they received insulated SCEC “goodie bags” containing (among other things):
- a half-pound Colby Cheese produced by member business Cady Cheese Factory (part of Burnett Dairy Cooperative),
- a package of honey ham sticks prepared by member business Sailer's Food Market & Meat Processing,
- a coupon for a free gallon of milk at Kwik Trip through the Milk Gallon Giveaway Program, a partnership with the Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association,
- and a cloth face mask.
After receiving their goodies, members were directed to their parking spots where they remained in their vehicles listening to station 97.9 and learning about the electric grid, transformers, causes of outages and more. (Clips provided through the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and Touchstone Energy – the national network of electric co-ops to which SCEC belongs.)
Following a Welcome given by President/CEO Brian Zelenak from the podium set up on a flatbed truck and the Pledge of Allegiance, Board Chair Paul Nyhus called to order the 83rd Annual Meeting of Members at 5:36 p.m. The other directors and co-op employees flanked the flatbed at tables, wearing their masks and reflective vests.
Out of respect for members, the meeting was designed to be as safe and efficient as possible, and members unanimously accepted the agenda, approved the previous year’s minutes and approved the audit report by honking their horns!
Each year, elections are held in three districts and all voting is done by mail with all ballots due at close of business on the last business day before the Annual Meeting. This year with the only contested race being in District 3, the tellers did not take much time to count the votes and by 6:04 p.m. John Collins was declared the new District 3 Director. Under bylaw revisions enacted last year, the single candidates of Bill Peavey in District 6 and George Yates in District 9 were ratified by unanimous horn honking.
“I was very pleased with how smoothly this unique meeting went, even with 80-plus degree, high-humidity, very sunny weather and gusty wind,” President Zelenak said. “With the patience, support and cooperation of our employees, directors and especially our members, we had a very successful, efficient event.”