VEA Board Calls Special Membership Meeting

Valley Electric Association’s board of directors has called a special member meeting to address concerns over the board’s fiduciary responsibilities and the process of recalling members of Valley’s board, according to a news release from Valley.

The special meeting, pegged to occur following Valley’s annual meeting on April 27, is set to answer questions that have arisen on these topics, following the announcement by a members’ group on its intentions to recall Valley’s current board of directors in February, said Ken Derschan, president of Valley’s board of directors, in the news release.

“We have heard member concerns, and we are listening to what members say,” said Derschan in the news release. “Questions and comments revolving around the board’s fiduciary responsibilities and how a recall can occur have come up. Members have a right to elect board members, and they have the right to recall them. That process is spelled out in the bylaws. We want our members to hear firsthand about what being a fiduciary means and how a recall needs to be conducted in accordance with the bylaws and the articles of incorporation.”

The special meeting is set to occur at approximately 2 p.m. on April 27, following Valley’s annual meeting, at the high school. Registration for the annual meeting begins at 11 a.m. with that event getting underway at 1 p.m., also at the high school, according to Valley’s news release.

According to Valley’s release, it takes three board members to call for a special meeting, though all six of the current directors signed a notice to call for a special meeting at the end of April, following the annual meeting.

On another front, hundreds of area member-owners have signed a petition being circulated by organizers of VEA Members for Change, a members’ group that is working to remove several of Valley’s board of directors.

That action could occur at a special meeting that the group is working on calling via a petition of Valley’s members.

According to organizers for the group, new directors can be voted in by Valley’s members at the special meeting if any of the current directors are voted out at that meeting.

Members for Change was launched amid increased rates announced by Valley earlier in 2019 for its broadband customers and on energy rates for residential customers. The members’ group saw an influx in people signing the petition in light of allegations of a financial cover-up of sexual harassment at Valley and embezzlement.

Ken Johnson, an organizer for Members for Change and a former executive of Valley, said in prior interviews with a reporter from the Pahrump Valley Times that the group has put efforts into finding replacements for the current board should they be voted out during a special meeting.

Members for Change has not publicly named any potential replacements of Valley’s board of directors should the group be successful.

Organizers of VEA Members for Change have commented that Valley is not following the bylaws by not calling a special meeting of the membership following the group’s obtainment of a signature requirement under the bylaws.

The group surpassed what it said is a required number of signatures equating to 5 percent of Valley’s members and has asked Valley to schedule a special meeting, according to Johnson.

To start the process on removing any of the directors, VEA Members for Change has to obtain enough signatures equating to 10 percent of the membership; the 5 percent marker is to call the special meeting, according to organizers of Members for Change.

According to the Members for Change’s Facebook page, the effort has amassed just under 1,600 signatures. The group needs to collect enough signatures to match 10 percent of the membership. According to Members for Change’s social media page, that number is approximately 18,750.

Kathleen Keyes, who ran unopposed in Valley’s District 4 (Fish Lake Valley), for a seat on the board, is not listed on Members for Change’s petition.

A reporter from the Pahrump Valley Times reached out to Michael Hengel, vice president of corporate communications for Valley, on the upcoming special meeting, not connected to any action by Members for Change, that was recently called by Valley’s board and on other topics.

Hengel said Dick Peck, Valley’s interim chief executive, “has gone on record as saying that we have one interpretation of the bylaws. You’d have to ask them (VEA Members for Change) about their interpretation. According to our interpretation of it, there’s still some work to do.”

In Valley’s news release, Derschan was noted stating that Valley’s independent auditor, Lubbock, Texas-based Bolinger, Segars, Gilbert &Moss LLP will make a presentation on Valley’s 2018 audit. Representatives for the firm will also discuss the board’s fiduciary responsibility, according to Derschan.

Valley’s corporate counsel, Tammy Peterson of Peterson Baker PLLC, also plans to make a presentation on Valley’s bylaws and the “intricacies of a recall election,” Valley’s release stated.

“The bylaws and articles of incorporation are there to protect the cooperative and the members,” said Peck in Valley’s release. “If members wish to go down that road, that is their right. Everyone needs to follow the bylaws, however, or little will be accomplished.”

Lunch is set to be served prior to the annual meeting at the high school starting at 11:30 a.m. until the annual meeting begins at 1 p.m.

Several vehicles and items currently held by Valley will be auctioned off following the conclusion of the special meeting, according to the news release.

Vehicle auction

Valley Electric Association is planning to auction off 13 vehicles and two trailers following a special meeting at the end of April.

The auction will occur following the conclusion of Valley’s annual meeting and a subsequent special meeting at Pahrump Valley High School at 501 E. Calvada Blvd. on April 27.

“We have too many vehicles in our fleet, so it’s time to move them out,” said Valley’s Interim Chief Executive Dick Peck. “If a member needs a vehicle like one of the ones we have, this will be a good opportunity to get one at a good price.”

Valley is scheduled to start its annual meeting at 1 p.m. at the high school with a special meeting pegged to begin at 2 p.m. Following those meetings, the auction will get underway.

The auction includes late models cargo vans, along with vehicles from the mid-2000s and prior: trucks, SUVs and other “articles from Valley’s warehouse” will be included in the list of auction items, according to a press release from Valley.

Source: VEA board calls a special meeting


Pahrump Valley Electric Association loses Publics Confidence

Members of the Pahrump Valley Electric Association Co-op, have rallied to collect signatures to replace the current board of directors.

A page on Facebook has been created calling themselves  VEA Members for change. Several events to collect signatures from verified members of the Co-op have been scheduled. More information is available on the Facebook page

The effort, triggered by an announcement, that electric rates would be increasing 10%, and other services such as internet, television, and phone services are getting increases as well. In spite of the Co-op promising stable rates.

Early last year VEA completed a campaign to get enough votes from members to allow the sale of high voltage transmission line.  Along with those efforts, a promise to keep rates at the same level for the next ten years was offered in exchange for member votes.

Late last week Nye County Sheriffs Office served a search warrant on the headquarters of VEA. The Facebook video below was shared to explain the search and some of the circumstances behind it.  With a promise of a more detailed announcement later sometime in March.

The second video below from the Las Vegas Review-Journal was published as a rebuttal to the video from the NCSO.

Yesterday, NCSO responded with the third video, containing body camera footage of the event, as a response to VEA staff's accusations about the actual search.

Public Release-VEA Search Warrant Executed

Public Release-Nye County Sheriff's Office Personell executed a search warrant at ValleyElectric Association for administrative and financial records.

Posted by Nye County Sheriff's Office on Friday, February 22, 2019

LVRJ Report on Statement released by VEA Staff

NCSO RESPONDS TO VEA ALLEGATIONS

The Nye County Sheriff is responding to untruths published by Valley Electric Association which includes body camera footage of the warrant execution.

Posted by Nye County Sheriff's Office on Monday, February 25, 2019


Board elections begin for some of co-op’s districts

Two candidates are vying for a spot on Valley Electric Association’s board of director seat in Amargosa Valley.

Incumbent Dave Hall, running for his second term on Valley’s board of directors to keep hold of his District 2 seat, is being challenged by Gerald Nalepa, who has been in Nevada for over 10 years.

Voting for directors in District 2 began on Wednesday when members were to start receiving their ballots in the mail, according to a spokesman for Valley.

The last votes are to be tallied at the District 2 annual district meeting in Amargosa Valley. According to information on Valley’s website, that meeting will occur from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on March 19 at the Amargosa Community Center at 821 E. Amargosa Farm Road.

Valley Electric Association/Special to the Pahrump Valley Times Kathleen Keyes, candidate for Valley Electric Association’s District 4 (Fish Lake Valley) seat is running unopposed. Incumbent John Maurer is not seeking re-election.

A seat is also open on Valley’s District 4 (Fish Lake Valley).

Only one candidate is running (unopposed) for the District 4 seat for Valley’s board of directors: Kathleen Keyes. Incumbent John Maurer is not seeking re-election to Valley’s board.

The annual district meeting for Valley’s District 4 is from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on March 21 at the Fish Lake Valley Community Center.

Valley’s annual meeting is set for April 27 at Pahrump Valley High School. According to Valley’s website, the meeting is set to run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Dave Hall

Valley Electric Association/Special to the Pahrump Valley Times Dave Hall, District 2 (Amargosa Valley) board of directors for Valley Electric Association, is looking to keep his seat as he has one opponent for the 2019 race. Hall currently serves as secretary on Valley’s board of directors.

Hall is seeking a second term on Valley’s board of directors. He currently serves as the board’s secretary.

According to a summary of Hall’s background and qualifications released by Valley, he “has helped craft VEA’s plans for the future.”

The release continued stating, “He also emphasizes the importance of member education so everyone in the co-op understands where VEA is going and why. From his position on the board of directors, Dave is helping VEA grow, because by growing, VEA will be able to generate the revenues necessary to keep costs down and provide new and better services for members.”

Hall has been a resident of Amargosa Valley for 25 years and is currently serving as chairman for the Nye County Water District Governing Board. He is also a board member for Amargosa Seniors Inc.

Hall worked 27 years for the General Electric lighting division, where he served in a number of management roles as well as in human resources and engineering, according to the release.

“Hall also was involved in his community in northeast Ohio as a volunteer firefighter for 12 years and chief for the last five,” the release stated. “He was the farm manager for Ponderosa Dairy until his retirement in 2014. With his work on the Amargosa Planning Board and farming, he has had experience in the VEA service area, including distribution, service installations and efficiency programs for irrigation.”

Gerald Nalepa

Valley Electric Association/Special to the Pahrump Valley Times Gerald Nalepa is a candidate for Valley Electric Association’s District 2 board of director’s seat. Voting began on Wednesday and will come to completion at District 2’s annual district meeting on March 19.

Nalepa is a retired Marine Corps Reserve colonel, according to a summary of Nalepa’s background and qualifications released by Valley. Nalepa spent 16 years in active duty and 14 years in the reserve.

“I was raised and mostly worked on the East Coast, but began to visit Southern Nevada when my grandparents retired in Las Vegas (1978),” the release stated. “After a year-long tour in Iraq, I drove cross-country in 2007 and stumbled across a piece of property for sale in Crystal and purchased it, as well as several lots in Pahrump, establishing myself in Nevada.”

Nalepa holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in history and a master of business administration from the University of Chicago, according to the release. Nalepa also holds a master’s in public administration from Harvard University.

Nalepa was an infantry officer and held numerous command and staff roles while serving in the Marine Corps. During his time in the reserves, he worked in the “corporate world as a marketing manager and government affairs representative,” according to the release from Valley.

“I am fully retired and have time to fully serve on the board. I do travel often, and have family obligations (my mother is 90, living in Utah), but if elected, I will do my best to not let these interfere with my board duties,” the release stated.

Source: Board elections begin for some of co-op’s districts