Today Sangre de Cristo Electric Association, Inc. (SDCEA) announced the results of the 2022 election for the SDCEA Board of Directors. Board seat challengers Nick Hellbusch and Sandra Attebery have been elected to three-year terms, representing members in Fremont and Custer counties, respectively on a vote that included only a minority of eligible voters. The new board members will be seated at the June 29 board meeting.
“The SDCEA board welcomes the new directors and is looking forward to working together to serve members of the cooperative,” Board Chair Joe Redetzke said.
All 11,533 SDCEA members as of April 7 were eligible to vote in the election, which was held by mail-in balloting only. Ballots were due to Survey & Ballot Systems, a third-party company engaged to conduct the election, by June 2 to be counted. But only 15.15 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in the election; 1,747 valid ballots were returned to SBS by the voting deadline.
The results of the election were certified on June 6 by the SDCEA election and credential committee. Self-reported campaign expenditure disclosure forms are available on the website by sign-in under the Members Only section.
“On behalf of the board, I thank everyone who cast a vote in the election. We look forward to an ongoing dialogue with members as we develop future programs and policies at the cooperative,” Redetzke said. “The board is committed to being open and transparent with members about cooperative business and forthcoming decisions that may impact them. We want to hear member concerns and use that feedback to inform our decisions about how best to serve our membership. We thank you for your engagement in the democratic process and look forward to working together for the betterment of the cooperative.”
Hellbusch defeated incumbent Geoff Gerk to represent Fremont County, 1,194 to 469 votes. Attebery defeated incumbent Tommy Flower to represent Custer County, 1,262 to 429 votes.
“The directors and staff of SDCEA extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to Geoff Gerk and Tom Flower for their dedication and years of service governing the cooperative,” Redetzke said.
Gerk has served on the SDCEA board since 2017, most recently as treasurer. He has attained his Director Gold educational endorsement from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), their highest level of certification. Gerk’s achievement reflects his commitment to ongoing industry education and the completion of advanced courses in electric cooperative management. He also holds a Board Leadership Certificate and earned designation from NRECA as a Credentialed Cooperative Director.
Flower served on the board since 2019 and had earned designation from NRECA as a Credentialed Cooperative Director.
SDCEA is an electric cooperative; a form of business owned and controlled by the people who use it, which includes members, who are consumer account holders. As it is not possible for members to directly make all cooperative decisions, SDCEA is governed by a board of directors, elected by the membership. Acting as a group, directors employ the cooperative’s Chief Executive Officer, establish operating policy, and direct the cooperative’s overall business operating goals.
Seven board members govern SDCEA’s business operations and represent geographic areas in SDCEA’s service territory. Board member terms of three years are staggered to ensure continuity of governance. This year, two board seats were up for election, the seat representing Fremont County and the seat representing Custer County. All cooperative members are eligible to vote in elections, regardless of the district in which they live.