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Va. co-op members file legal challenge in fight for control

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Va. co-op members file legal challenge in fight for control

A small group of Rappahannock Electric Cooperative members have filed a petition for declaratory and injunctive relief with the Virginia State Corporation Commission as part of their push for control and reform.

The member-owners in their July 26 petition seek "a declaration that certain bylaws adopted by [Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, or REC's,] board of directors are void as inconsistent with law and REC's charter and/or void as unreasonable, oppressive, unduly burdensome, arbitrary, or capricious." The petition also seek an injunction that would require REC to allow proposed bylaw amendments be voted on by the co-op's full membership, according to a news release.

"The bylaw amendments would allow co-op members to observe board of directors' meetings, receive financial disclosure of board-member compensation, and clarify the proxy ballot process for board elections," the release states.

The members allege their attempts to discuss or present proposed reforms with the co-op's board have been denied.

"All we're asking is that REC's board members live up to the cooperative principles they claim to follow. It's a shame we've had to file this petition to do that," member-owner Michael Murphy said in a written statement. "We're hoping our SCC filing will lead eventually to a constructive dialogue with board members, and significant reforms at REC."

The member-owners are also the co-founders of the Repower REC campaign.

A spokesman for Rappahannock Electric Cooperative said the co-op is working on an official response to the petition.

"The claims expressed by these three [members] are about processes and personal preferences, not substance," REC spokesman Matt Faulconer said in an email. "The focus of REC's Board, management and employees is the best interest of our membership as a whole and in accomplishing our mission of providing safe, reliable and affordable electric service. We always have and will continue to explore opportunities and processes that aid in accomplishing that mission."