There are some things worth thinking about as we cast ballots in the next few weeks for the three open positions on the OPALCO Board of Directors.
First, our course, would be the 25-30% rate increases the board has approved since OPALCO decided to enter the Internet/broadband business.
Another is the way the board and management have shed the values of a cooperative in favor of those of a for-profit corporation (which, of course, its wholly-owned Rock Island Communications is). And it has done so while raising our electric bills to cover its expenses and debts, something only an electric monopoly could do.
It used to be that when OPALCO board elections came along all we had to do was find the word “incumbent” behind a name and vote. That was because OPALCO was well run, kept its finances healthy, the power on and answered members’ questions openly and honestly.
But last year the membership began the process of reclaiming our coop by unseating the incumbent board president who led the board into soaring debt, large increases in operating expenses, abusive rate hikes and diminishing transparency.
Now is the time to continue the job we began last year and unseat the two incumbents up for election. We have four new candidates who are smart, experienced people who understand that a new culture of fiscal responsibility, transparency and stewardship is crucial and can’t occur with the incumbent board members in place.
There also is a proposed change to OPALCO’s by-laws. It’s not worthy of serious consideration. Just vote “no” so the cooperative can get on with what’s important.