A former board member of Chugach Electric Association is alleging that two of the seven current board members of the electric cooperative are ineligible to serve on the board because they live outside the service area.
Alex Gimarc last month posted a column in APEonline, a political web site, saying that the board chair, Bettina Chastain lives at 1777 Forest Park in Anchorage. “This is in the ML&P Service Area. Director Chastain has her mail from Chugach Electric sent to this address. Director Chastain is registered to vote at this address,” he wrote.
This week, he said that he discovered a second board member, Sisi Cooper, also lives outside the electric cooperative’s service area, making her ineligible to serve as well.
Gimarc is concerned that the board is making decisions about the purchase of Municipal Light & Power, the city-owned utility, with an illegal board in place.
Gimarc cited the Chugach Bylaws, Article IV, Section 3. Qualifications
7) Maintains i) his or her membership and ii) bona fide residency in the area served by the association throughout his or term in office
(c) Upon establishment of the fact that a director is holding office in violation of any of the foregoing provisions or violated the disclosure provisions of Article III, section 9(b) Subsection (2), the board of directors shall remove such director from office unless the basis for disqualification is remedied within thirty (30) days of notice of disqualification by the board of directors.
(e) “Bona fide resident is hereby defined to mean: 1) a person whose primary residence is in the area served by the Association, and who actually lives at this primary residence with the intention to remain there permanently or indefinitely and 2) a non-natural entity who chooses as their authorized representative a person who is a “bona fide resident” as defined in 1).
“Primary residence” shall mean the residence that is the chief or main residence of the person and where the person actually lives for the most substantial portion of the year. “Intention” shall mean the unequivocal intention of the person as evidenced by that person’s acts and words and by the circumstances.
The failure of a director to meet the qualifications for service shall not affect the validity of any action taken at any meeting of the board of directors.
ANOTHER BOARD MEMBER NOT ELIGIBLE?
Gimarc said he contacted the board this week to notify them that he believes he has discovered yet another board member lives outside the Chugach service area.
“As much as it pains me to do so, I have uncovered yet another Board Member, Sisi Cooper who is no longer a member of the Association, and as such, not eligible to serve on the Board of Directors. As before, I have to the best of my ability verified that this is accurate and am submitting this concern to the Board for its immediate action,” Gimarc wrote.
“This really reflects badly on the professionalism and integrity of both the Board and management, right at the point where you are negotiating a billion dollar merger. I want you guys to get that merger right. But with this and Ms. Chastain, I have my doubts precisely whose interests you are representing,” Gimarc wrote.
Chugach Electric is in the process of acquiring ML&P in a deal that has had numerous questions raised, mostly concerning the lack of a competitive process for buying the Anchorage Municipality’s electric provider.
The power company is buying ML&P after voters approved the sale in the April municipal election.