SOCORRO, New Mexico (STPNS) -- By John Severance
It was a little more harmonious but some things don’t change.
The regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, Mar. 10, became contentious when Socorro Electric Cooperative Trustee Charlie Wagner challenged motions concerning SEC’s delegate to the Tri-State convention.
The disagreements surfaced when General Manager Polo Pineda told the board they had to choose a delegate for the convention, set for early April in Denver. And immediately, trustee Manny Marquez nominated Leroy Anaya, who also happens to the co-op’s representative to be the Tri-State board. Prescilla Mauldin then made the motion for a vote to nominate Anaya and Donald Wolberg seconded.
When it came to discussion of the matter, Wagner objected, saying there was a conflict of interest because he already is the co-op representative but he also has allegiances to Tri-State and he might not have the best interests of the co-op in mind.
“Mr. Anaya knows what is going on and another person might not,” Trustee president Paul Bustamante said.
Wagner said Bustamante was missing the point.
Attorney Dennis Francish chimed in and said, “Leroy Anaya is a delegate to Tri State. He would have to wear two hats so to speak and it’s a balancing act. Mr. Wagner is not far off in what he saying. Charlie is correct to a certain degree.”
Anaya said there were 44 co-operatives in Tri-State and almost everyone has the same person as representative and delegate. Last year, though, Juan Gonzales acted as the Tri-State representative and Harold Baca served as the delegate.
After the discussion, the trustees voted 9-1 in favor of Anaya being the Tri-State delegate at the convention.
Later, Anaya brought up the fact that he thought the SEC had passed a resolution that it was against the New Energy petition. And that he had heard that Wagner spoke at the EIB meeting March 1 at the same time that most proponents of the petition were talking.
“I objected to our stand and I didn’t vote with the board on that,” Wagner said. “My view is on both sides of the issue. I am for clean air and affordable rates.”
Bustamante said, “There is nothing wrong with that.”
But trustee Donald Wolberg said, “Everybody is entitled to their opinion but you have to be careful if you are speaking for the board when you are out in public. Whether we agree or disagree, we have to be careful how we are viewed.”
Wagner said he was speaking for himself and he questioned who was speaking on behalf of the co-op.
He answered his own question when he said nobody, despite the fact Pineda and trustees Milton Ulibarri and Leo Cordova were in attendance at the EIB meeting in Santa Fe.
The board eventually called for executive session and when it resumed regular session board members were discussing a rough draft for a the change of bylaws. The board released the final draft to the public on its web site socorroelectric.com