Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion                                 The sign in front of the Homer Electric Association building in Kenai, Alaska, as seen on April 1, 2020.

Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion The sign in front of the Homer Electric Association building in Kenai, Alaska, as seen on April 1, 2020.

HEA announces meeting; urges members not to attend for safety reasons

HEA’s bylaws require that a meeting of the members is held every year in the first week of May.

The Homer Electric Association will still be holding its annual meeting of the members in the first week of May, but HEA is “not encouraging its members to attend,” according to an April 9 press release from the Association.

Bruce Shelley, director of member relations, said Friday that HEA is attempting to respect the health mandates issued by Gov. Mike Dunleavy that prohibit large gatherings and travel between communities while also adhering to their own bylaws, which do not give the HEA board the authority to cancel the meeting.

“We’re trying to follow our bylaws, but we want you to follow the governor’s mandates,” he said.

Shelley said that Article III, Section 1 of HEA’s bylaws require that a meeting of the members is held every year in the first week of May in order to elect the board of directors, give reports on the previous fiscal year and for other related business.

In March, Dunleavy issued a social distancing mandate requiring that individuals stay at home for all non-essential business and prohibiting public or private gatherings of non-household members. HEA’s meeting of the members requires 50 people in attendance in order to have a quorum. The mandates issued by the governor also state that travel between communities should only be done for critical needs.

The board of directors does not have the authority to change HEA’s bylaws, Shelley said, so this year’s meeting is being held in order to avoid any potential legal issues that may arise from cancelling the meeting without the consent of all of its members. Only through a meeting of the members can the bylaws be changed.

“Upon getting legal advice, we decided it would be best to announce the meeting,” Shelley said. “But we fully expect members not to show up. Safety should prevail.”

On the day of the meeting, if fewer than 50 people show up, those present can move to cancel or postpone the meeting.

HEA is holding elections this year for three seats on their board of directors, and Shelley said that election will still be taking place by mail.

Shelley said that ballots were mailed to all members on the morning of April 10. Inside the ballot packet are two additional letters that explain HEA’s decision regarding their annual meeting and instructions on mailing the ballot back to HEA within the allotted time.

An official ballot election can still be held without a meeting of the members, according to Article III, Section 6b of the HEA bylaws.

Results of the election are scheduled to be announced on May 7.

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