Breaking Down The Annual Meeting

Posted: February 1, 2023
Mark Hayden, GM

Each year, the third Saturday in March is slated for the Cooperative’s Annual Meeting. This year is no different. On Saturday, March 18, 2023, MEC will host the Co-op’s 87th Annual Meeting. This meeting is not just important to our Board of Trustees and our employees, it is also important to our owners… that’s you!

How did I become an owner of MEC?
When a consumer signs up for electric service at MEC, they become a part-owner of the Cooperative – we call these consumers “members.” Because MEC is a member-owned cooperative, our members have a voice in how we operate. Whether a member runs for a seat on our democratically elected Board of Trustees, or instead, chooses to vote for a member to represent their district on the Board, each member’s voice is equally important.

How do I elect a Board Trustee?
Trustees are elected to three-year terms on a seven-member board, totaling one member per district. This group of elected officials sets policies and guides the direction of the Co-op during their term(s). Customarily, the election of board members takes place leading up to, and during, the Annual Meeting. Every three years, before the Annual Meeting, members are sent a mail-in ballot to place their vote for a district representative. If preferred, members may choose to vote in-person at the meeting.

What is an Annual Meeting?
The Annual Meeting is an important business event that celebrates the unique electric cooperative business model while providing updates to our members and sharing the many ways we are working to serve them. Every spring, the Co-op hosts an Annual Meeting and invites members to cast their vote for district representation, review financials and celebrate accomplishments from the year prior. Our hope is that they will also leave with a better understanding of the Co-op’s programs and future plans. Additionally, it’s an opportunity for our members to meet the employees and Trustees who work hard to keep their lights on.

Why is the Annual Meeting in March?
MEC’s governing bylaws require us to host an annual meeting of the members once a year. In Article III, Section I, of the Cooperative’s bylaws, it states, “The annual meeting of the members shall be held in the month of March each year, in Missoula County, State of Montana, on a date and at a location chosen by the Board of Trustees and designated in the notice of annual meeting, for the purposes of electing trustees, passing upon reports for the previous fiscal year and transacting such other business as may come before the meeting…”

Why are finances discussed?
Fiscal responsibility is an important part of any business, but at a cooperative you are a member-owner. Therefore, financial transparency is a priority.

It may sound like a business meeting, but it’s also a celebration! Members enjoy refreshments and snacks, and can walk away with a prize (or two)! For those in attendance, this years’ prizes include an outdoor patio set with a fire pit table, a $400 Yeti cooler, a $250 power certificate and more!

With a better understanding of the Annual Meeting, I hope you’ll save the date and join us at the University of Montana for our 87th Annual Meeting on Saturday, March 18th. Event registration will open at 9 a.m. and the meeting will begin at 11 a.m. in the UC Ballroom. We look forward to welcoming you