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.