Four new Cobb EMC directors elected
by Kim Isaza
newseditor@mdjonline.com
April 01, 2012 12:31 AM | 7288 views | 47 47 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cobb EMC members register to vote outside Piedmont Church on Saturday. Members voted for six directors of the electric membership cooperative. Four seats were filled, and areas 4 and 5 are headed to runoff elections on April 21.<BR>Staff/Jon-Michael Sullivan
Cobb EMC members register to vote outside Piedmont Church on Saturday. Members voted for six directors of the electric membership cooperative. Four seats were filled, and areas 4 and 5 are headed to runoff elections on April 21.
Staff/Jon-Michael Sullivan
slideshow
MARIETTA — Four more seats on the Cobb EMC board of directors are now in new hands, and two more will be settled in unprecedented runoff elections on April 21.

The winners are: Rudy Underwood, who was unopposed in Area 2; Kelly Bodner in Area 3; Bryan Boyd in Area 8; and Eric Broadwell in Area 9.

One runoff will be for Area 4, where Jim Hudson won 681 votes (42 percent) and David McClellan won 601 votes (37 percent). There were eight candidates competing in Area 4.

The other runoff will be for Area 5, where Tripper Sharp — one of the plaintiffs to the 2007 lawsuit against the EMC — got 775 votes (46 percent), and Charles A. Sevier got 502 votes (30 percent). Nine candidates were vying for that seat.

Turnout on the first day of spring break was a paltry 1 percent, with 1,778 ballots cast among 173,995 members of the electric cooperative.

There are 10 directors of Cobb EMC, and four of those seats were decided in November. Saturday’s winners will join board Chairman Ed Crowell, vice chairman David Tennant, secretary-treasurer Cheryl Meadows, and Malcolm Swanson.

A competing slate promoted by the lesser-known plaintiffs carried the most sway with voters in this round of elections, as opposed to the slate vetted and endorsed by the Cobb EMC Owners Association and well-known plaintiffs Butch Thompson and Bo Pounds.

In Area 9, winner Broadwell was part of the competing slate and won outright with 822 votes, or 51 percent, in a four-person field. Sheri Wilburn, the Owners Association-backed candidate, got 618 votes (38 percent).

In Area 5, plaintiff Sharp said he was humbled to be the top vote getter. His campaign was promoted by some of his fellow plaintiffs, but pointedly opposed by Thompson and Pounds.

“Now I just have to keep the campaign running another three weeks,” Sharp said.

Sevier, who was endorsed by the Owners Association, shook hands with Sharp after the results were announced.

“I thought I had as good a chance as anyone in Area 5,” Sevier said. He intends to face off against Sharp in the April 21 runoff, despite a decent gap in their vote totals.

“I asked some of the other candidates what they would do if they were me, and they all encouraged me to stay in,” Sevier said.

In Area 4, which will also go to a runoff, the top vote getter, Jim Hudson, was part of the competing slate, while David McClellan was endorsed by the Owners Association.

Saturday’s election was held at Piedmont Church in east Cobb, and the runoff election will also be held there. But further details for the runoffs are yet to be decided, because these will be the first runoffs ever for Cobb EMC director seats. The runoff date was part of an agreement the company and plaintiffs signed in December that consolidated two elections into the one meeting yesterday.

Voting was open yesterday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. During a 9:30 a.m. meeting, each candidate had five minutes to address the members, though only about 50 members came into the church’s sanctuary to hear the presentations. Twenty-nine total candidates appeared on the ballot for various seats, but three of those candidates did not attend the meeting.

Randy Nix, who lives in the Burnt Hickory area and has been a Cobb EMC member since 2008, said lower prices and getting rid of the corruption at the utility are the reasons he came out to vote.

“I wanted to make sure my vote is counted,” Nix said.

Skip Smith, another of the plaintiffs to the 2007 lawsuit, said he looked forward to having a democratically elected board of directors. In years past, directors were appointed by management and then were elected with little or no opposition.

“For the first time in 20 years, members have had an opportunity to have a say in an organization that they had no choice but to be part of,” Smith said.

New Board Chairman Ed Crowell congratulated the winners and wished good luck to those candidates in the runoff. The first priority of the all-new board will be forensic audit, he said. The independent auditors will be selected only by the board and will report only to the board, he said.

“We’re getting things done in the right way,” Crowell said.

The next full board meeting is April 24, the same day the directors have planned a town-hall forum for members. The town hall meeting is scheduled for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the community room at Cobb EMC headquarters in Marietta.
Comments
(47)
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I Remember
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April 05, 2012
When Mr. Patel was faced with a certain run-off defeat and the prospect of an expensive election he did the right thing and allowede the system to move on ahead. It was the smart and right thing to do and now Sevier and McClellan should do the right thing also. No matter that the EMC management team is begging them to hang in because they are deathly afraid of the two savy

candidates, Sharp and Hudson, and what true no nonsence leadership they will bring to the new board!
Financial Advisor
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April 04, 2012
After looking over the financials for the last quarter and looking at the amount of debt the EMC has on its balance sheet. The EMC is in no position to throw $250K out the window. Cobb EMC reported a loss of $2.8 million last quarter and the end of year financials are looking much worse. If I were an employee or member of Cobb EMC I would be seriously concerned about Cobb EMC's ability to continue on in the direction it is going. I forsee job losses and possible bankruptcy if spending isn't brought under control quickly. I urge Mr. Sevier and Mr. McClellan to withdraw so that the new board can get to work quickly on saving jobs and possibly our EMC. It might already be too late.
Sharp Disputes
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April 02, 2012
If Tripper Sharp can't get along with the plaintiffs he knows so well, what kind of a team player will he be on the new EMC board?

The plaintiffs did their thing, thank goodness. Now it is time to build a future. We don't need Tripper's demonstrated joy for stirring up a mess to call attention to himself.

We need a board blessed with wisdom, courage, and patience, not an ego tripper who enjoys breaking all the furniture.
Realist One
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April 03, 2012
@ Sharp Disputes: If Tripper Sharp can't get along with the plaintiffs, then why is the majority of the plaintiffs supporting him? Sounds to me that he is quite the team player to generate support for his candidacy from the majority of the plaintiffs. Tripper Sharp is a hero in this for having the courage to stand up for what is right. He stood up and voiced his concern when the EMC management hijacked the CEOA, he stood up when Dwight Brown was ripping the members off. We need courage like Tripper's on the board. NO MORE RUBBERSTAMPS!
I know him...
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April 03, 2012
...and you don't. However, you leave yourself open for critism because you are so far off base. The attributes you mention are nice but also short-handed. What about experience (over 5 years of expertise on this subject) and smart (your debate with him would be cruel, to you). How about decisive, (he is) and goal oriented (he has one) and no I don't need another patient non-action board member. I'll have to say Tripper is my number one candidate and Jim Hudson is close behind. Both have paid their dues and both have earned a seat based on their long-term fight for justice against Dwight Brown and his million dollar legal fund paid for by the very people he was fleecing.

I'm still hopeful the second place candidates, Mr. Sevier and McClellan will save some substantial EMC member money ($250,000)by stepping down. After all, if they were running to oust the board that has been accomplished. Think about it. Take Back Cobb EMC has already spoke on this and they endorse and recommend Sharp and Hudson. Most of the Plantiffs have

already concluded they support Hudson and Sharp

so, how about it fellows?
TO UNINFORMED
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April 03, 2012
Surely you jest about Tripper Sharp! I'm sure you know that of the six plaiintiffs, 4 are Tripper Sharp supporters. That adds up to "team player" to me. There are only 2 plaintiffs who are against Tripper and one of those said openly he'd vote for Tripper. So, I question who the rabble rouser really is and what is his agenda to continually condem Tripper? Must be someone who wants to continue the Dwight Brown management tradition.
another anonymous
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April 02, 2012
When the membership voted in September 2011 to only allow in-person voting, it was understood that run off elections were possible and would also have to be voted on in person. No one should be whining now that they don't want to go to the expense of a run off.

NO WHINNER
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April 03, 2012
Whose whining? Our EMC just doesn't have another $250,000 to spend on a runoff, especially since the two losing candidates could simply drop out and let the two highest vote getters win.
Been here before
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April 02, 2012
...and it does seem that most folks voted for Messers Hudson and Sharp because they both were better candidates with knowledge vastly exceeding the other two gentlemen. I suspect they will only

win again because of the experence and knowledge

they gained over a long period of time. Should we keep fanning the fire because we are trying to get

old board members off? Nope, they are already gone. Please gentlemen, thanks but no thanks to another long round of elections with diminshing votes and expensive costs of over $250,000. Let it go and be better for it.

are beaten
another anonymous
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April 03, 2012
Sounds like the backers of Sharp and Hudson want to hi-jack the election by trying to brow beat their opponents into conceding.

The membership was well aware in September 2011 when they opted to keep in-person voting that there could be run off elections and were apparently willing to accept that possibility. I think we should let the process run its course. That's the fairest thing to do.
EMC Member
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April 03, 2012
@ another anonymous: The mail-in ballot vote had nothing to do with run off elections. In fact in that amendment there was a provision for run off elections. The membership overwhelmingly voted the mail-in ballot down because Chip Nelson and his dirty lawyers tried to pull a fast one on the plaintiffs and the membership by removing the language which would have forbidden the incumbent board from using members' money to support themselves in a re-election campaign. I remember getting a robocall from Chip Nelson urging me to vote for the mail-in ballot. Just think of the mess we would have now if the members were not wise to their tricks. I would especially like to thank Tripper Sharp for bringing that information forward prior to the vote via youtube. Just another reason to vote for Tripper Sharp. He has always looked out for the members.
Take Back Cobb EMC
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April 02, 2012
We are calling on the second place candidates in Area 4 and 5—David McClellan and Charles Sevier respectively—to do the honorable thing and concede the race to the first place candidates. A runoff for Areas 4 and 5 would cost the EMC and its members an estimated $250,000. That’s more member money, and more hours EMC employees are spending away from their families, and it’s not the kind of financially responsible decision members want. Mr. McClellan and Mr. Sevier are strong candidates who have brought a lot to this election, but it’s time to bring this hard fought effort to an end.
Wait just a second -
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April 03, 2012
So Take Back Cobb id basically saying that if they don't drop out they are not honorable if they stay in? You don't speak for all the membership, and the rules were clear - if you didnt get a majority then there's a another vote. This co-op belongs to all of the consumers, not just Take Back Cobb, or the CEMCOA.

These kind of statements are transparent - you want your slate to be elected and it's easier if the others will concede.
NO WAY TRIPPER
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April 02, 2012
I DONT THINK TRIPPER SHARP SHOULD BE ABLE TO BE ON THE BOARD.COBB EMC IS TRYING TO MAKE THINGS RIGHT WITH NEW LEADERSHIP AS WELL AS A NEW BOARD.

A PLANTIFF DOESNT NEED TO BE ON THE BOARD TO KEEP BRINNING UP PAST ISSUES WITH THE OLD BOARD AND PLD MANAGMENT.

HE SHOULD NOT RUN IN THE RUNOFF,WE NEED TO MOVE ON!
Realist One
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April 02, 2012
@ I Voted: I think you are certainly in the minority. Tripper Sharp has proven himself as a leader through the five years of litigation and in this whole process. His knowledge of the operations at Cobb EMC is unmatched and he didn't just move to Cobb County two years ago. We know what we are getting with Sharp. Who knows what we are getting from the other guy.
I Voted
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April 01, 2012
Am I the only one that doesn't think it's a good idea for a blaintiff to serve on the Board?
You are not alone
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April 02, 2012
No, you are not the only one. Remember, the majority of voters in that race wanted someone other than the plaintiff.

Electron Man
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April 02, 2012
Yes, You are the only one. Plaintiffs were not supposed to be involved so as not to get any kind of financial or political gain or did you miss that point somehow?
Cobb EMC Member
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April 02, 2012
I truly don't understand your concern with Tripper Sharp being a Cobb EMC board member. He certainly has given a lot of his time already to correcting the problems in our company. He is probably one of the most knowledgeable people running when it comes to the issues.

I had a chance to meet him and found him most open and willing to answer my questions. He seems to me to be a highly qualified candidate.

Mike O. Bedenbaugh
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April 01, 2012
To JustENDIT: The court of appeals only dismissed the first grand jury indictment against Dwight Brown. It didnot dismiss the SECOND GRAND JURY INDITMENT AGAINST Dwight Brown which goes to court within the next two weeks or so. Lets hope justice is served.
Tony Q
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April 01, 2012
I just want to say that Tripper Sharp receiving 46% of the vote in a 9 person race is impressive. The writing appears to be on the wall for Seiver. If Mr. Seiver wants to exercise his futile right to a runoff, I expect his loss to be tremendous considering that a selfish act like that will cost ratepayers over $200K. I only hope that Mr. Seiver truely does care about the members of Cobb EMC and that he takes the members into account when he makes the decision to withdraw or not. I have met Mr. Seiver and he appears to be an honorable man. I hope appearances prove correct.
anonymous
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April 02, 2012
Tripper Sharp getting 46% of the vote means 54% of the members voted against him. Bring on the runoff!!! Please Mr. Seiver, stay in the race.
Simple Math
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April 02, 2012
Let's just look at this a minute. There were 1,778 ballots cast. Tripper Sharp received 775 votes. That means 1,003 votes were NOT Tripper. Yeah, let's bring on the runoff. If we're gonna do this to clean out the corruption, let's do it all the way. That way we know for sure what the membership, well at least the 1% that showed up to vote, really want. I have to wonder how many more would have voted had Tripper and his friends not gotten mail in ballots stopped.
Math Teacher
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April 03, 2012
@ Simple Math: There were only 1,685 ballots cast in the area 5 race which were split 9 ways. Not 1,778. Tripper Sharp received 775 votes. That is only 69 votes shy of 50% 1. It's worth noting that Scott Chadwick endorsed Tripper today and he received 100 votes or 5.93%. Remember, Tripper only needs to pick up 4.01% from the other 7 candidates. On the other hand, Mr. Seiver will need to pick up 20.21% or over 5 times the number needed for Tripper from the other 7 candidates. I know that Mr. Seiver has the support of the EMC management, consultants and many employees (some of which were shareholders in Cobb Energy and profited greatly from the Dwight Brown debacle)and he is clearly banking on their block vote, but I don't think that is going to do it for him. Seems like a waste of $250K for Mr. Seiver to have his runoff at the ratepayers expense. Mr. Seiver should follow in the steps of RJ Patel and call it over.
Pat H
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April 01, 2012
Karen Handel had the integrity to concede a very close race because she didn't want taxpayers to pay the cost of a recount.

Mr. Sevier and Mr. McClellan, you should have the dignity to drop out now and save members the money and toil to give up yet another Saturday to revote. Both of you have only invested 2 months in the fight to reform the EMC, and actually did very little for owners' cause as well as your own.

Both Jim Hudson and Tripper Sharp have been working for years for this cause and are known to all as trustworthy. Step down now and run in the next election after an honest forensic audit has been completed.
Ban Pat Henry
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April 01, 2012
lady,you should be banned from posting until you name the accounting firm Chip Nelson chose (as you claimed to know if one of your earlier rants).

No one should join the board if they can't get more than half the voting members to support them. A runoff is perfectly appropriate and if Sharp and Hudson win, fine -- but they should earn it with a majority (at least a majority of the members who take the time to show up).
Electron man
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April 02, 2012
Get a clue. Read a book on democracy.
Pat H
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April 02, 2012
Chip Nelson provided 3 names and wanted the audit once Dwight Brown left but before his rubber stamp board all left. This was rejected and rightly so. The names are being researched in the voluminous correspondence regarding this case.

You have no right to ban freedom of speech just because you disagree with the content. Take your communist self and and study history. I served in the Army to preserve your freedom of speech, even though I think your message is wrong.

Why not attack the message instead of the person? How many years have Mr. Sevier and Mr. McClellan worked for EMC owners? Can Mr. Sevier deny any association with Dean Alford of Power4Georgians?
emc member too
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April 01, 2012
there is going to be a run-off election because of area 4 alone,thus no additional cost to me regardless of what Mr. Sevier decides to do.Therefore, I would encourage Mr. Sevier to stay based on his business background vs. the plaintiff, who has no business background. 15% is not a lot considering the 24% that went to the other candidates based on the numbers above.

To: EMC member
Save Cost of Runoff
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April 01, 2012
Not quite a true statement that Tripper has "no business background". Tripper is the youngest candidate running. In his business he is a leader. Mr. Sevier is brand new to the board replacement process, has not nearly the depth of understanding of the Cobb EMC problems as Tripper. That 24% will likely go to Tripper if Sevier doesn't simply drop out by conceding the runoff to a proven leader, Tripper Sharp. Cobb EMC employee block voting will not be enough to keep Tripper off the Board.
EMC LOST DOLLARS
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April 01, 2012
Cobb EMC lost millions last quarter and here we go again!

The EMC will spend $250,000 plus to hold a runoff for TWO candidates! Why don't the ones with the lowest votes just decline to run again and save us from losing another $250,000??

Talk about wastful spending!
BEST FOR LAST
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April 01, 2012
Looks like we've saved the best for last--- Tripper Sharp and Jim Hudson! Tripper Sharp, a plaintiff, has worked to stop the wrongdoings at Cobb EMC for 5 years and Jim Hudson, has also worked diligently for at least 4 years.

As for their opponents, both showed up a couple of months ago, just in time to be vetted by the now tainted Cobb EMC Owners Assoc.

AnonymousZ
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April 01, 2012
I was looking over the voting results at the Cobb EMC website. It looks like Mr. Sevier got only 30% of the vote compared to Mr. Sharp's 45%. This is a huge deficit. Sharp got two votes for every one vote Sevier received.

Considering the cost of more than $200k for an election, it seems that Mr. Sevier would accept his loss and unlikely ability to overcome such a huge difference and simply withdraw.

Cobb EMC has wasted enough money. We don't need candidates pursuing an election when they don't have a reasonable chance of winning.
you can't count
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April 01, 2012
775 to 502 isn't 2:1

The more important fact is no one got a majority. No board member should be seated when the majority of the voters were against them.

A runoff is not a waste of time or money, it's the right thing to do.
EMC owner
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April 01, 2012
Many thanks to the MDJ and staff for what has been done for us EMC members and owners. We could never have reached this point without you

(and this is not an April joke either).

Concerned Citizen
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April 01, 2012
We've spent more than enough money on these elections and it's time for this to end. Mr. McClellan and Mr. Sevier should bow out in favor of the candidates that were in first place. Spending another $250,000 on a runoff is not what EMC members need right now.

We need to move forward and it's time we seat the 6 board members that received more votes than anyone else.
enough is enough
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April 01, 2012
the runoff will cost us more money. if the candidates that lost will concede gracefully we can save the money. Just do the right thing, after all that is what this is all about. Mr Seiver and Mr. McCllan You can run again next time and have an honest platform of saving the members money. Or is it that you really don't care about the members and insist on this run off. If that is the case we will wage a huge effort to make sure your costly efforts insure a win for Mr Sharp and Mr. Hudson, we have had enough of thoughtless, overspending members of the Cobb EMC board.
JustEndIt!!!
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April 01, 2012
Since the Good Ol' Boy Court system in this state just quashed Brown’s indictments on a technical issue, intentionally created by his legal team, only an aware and diligent Board can address the long term corruption at Cobb EMC.

Let's just hope the Sharp and Hudson win their runoff elections and we can finally put an end to the corruption at Cobb. Sevier and McClellan should do the honorable thing and withdraw as they wouldn’t even be in a run off if Nelson’s storm troopers hadn’t hijacked the CEOA endorsement process. Are they really doing the right thing to impede progress and have Cobb EMC Members pay for yet another election? No they are not!

Explain Motives
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April 01, 2012
"Storm Troopers". Really? Drama and more drama. What kind of outlandish talk next?
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