New VEA Committees Off to a Fast Start

Two of four new Board committees for Valley Electric Association conducted their first meetings on July 10. The Finance Committee is focused on assisting the Board with the Co-op’s financial goals, and the Member Liaison Committee is working to improve the organization’s bylaws.

Kathy Keyes, District 4 (Fish Lake Valley) heads up the Finance Committee, and Michelle Caird, District 1 (South Pahrump) is leading Member Liaison. Both joined the Board in the spring. The first meetings were intended to help orient committee members, but both groups were eager to begin.

Finance Committee Chair Kathy Keyes, left, and Linda Levasseur of Sandy Valley. (Jeff Scheid photo)

Before it can recommend ways to achieve the Co-op’s financial goals, the Finance Committee must gain background and context about the organization’s revenue, costs and accounting processes. That should not take long because each committee member can draw on extensive professional financial experience. “The committee seems to be the right size with everyone having impressive experience,” said Kathy. “We are going to do great things.”

Committee members will have direct access to VEA Chief Financial Officer Steve Morrison, who plans to attend Finance meetings.

Both committees were set up to meet quarterly, but Finance Committee members opted to meet monthly. Likewise, monthly meeting will be the rule for Member Liaison for the foreseeable future because so much work needs to be accomplished.

In its first meeting, the Member Liaison Committee began an extensive, line-by-line review of VEA’s bylaws. The Committee will recommend revisions to the Board of Directors. Since all bylaw changes must also be ratified by the Cooperative’s membership, all Board approvals must be completed in time to accommodate a special election in the run-up to the Annual Meeting in April.

“It’s very gratifying that members are willing to invest their time to help improve the Co-op,” said Michelle. “We had great attendance at our first meeting, and we made a lot of progress in reviewing the bylaws.”

Several months ago, VEA Board approved a policy that set up four new committees. Besides Finance and Member Liaison, a Policy and Charitable Foundation committees also were established and are expected to conduct their first meetings in August. The four committees are chaired by a member of the VEA Board of Directors.

Member Liaison Committee members Surely Karganilla, left, and Tonia Burton, both of Sandy Valley, during the July 10 meeting at Valley Electric Association. (Jeff Scheid photo)

The Finance Committee will review reports and make recommendations pertaining to the Cooperative’s fiscal operation, including all CEO expenses. Duties will include reviewing the annual work plan and budget, recommending external audit firms and advising the Board on rate issues. Committee members all have financial expertise.

The Policy Committee will make recommendations for revisions to VEA policies on a three-year cycle. The panel is made up of members who have policy and procedure experience. It will be chaired by Dave Dawson, District 6.

The Member Liaison Committee advises the Board on matters involving co-op membership involvement by sharing news and information and assisting research pertaining to VEA services, strategies and bylaws.

The Charitable Foundation Committee will assist with fundraising opportunities and will help ensure that the needs of communities served by VEA are represented in the foundation’s mission. Terrie D’Antonio of District 5 will serve as chair.

VEA Board member Dave Dawson, left, and Finance Committee member William Kirby of Fish Lake Valley. (Jeff Scheid Photo)

VEA Board President Dave Hall said the purpose of the new committee structure is to “help re-engage our Board with our members.”

In an effort to encourage widespread participation, the Board insisted that members from all six districts serve on each committee. The Co-op’s broadband technology team has set up a network of remote stations to facilitate member participation in each district without requiring them to travel to Pahrump. The system works much like video conferencing.

The Member Liaison Committee’s next meeting will be Aug. 14, and the Finance Committee will meet Aug. 20. The dates for Policy and Charitable Foundation have not been set.