Vote yes for OPALCO bylaw change | Letter

OPALCO members have a proposed bylaw change to vote on this election. The proposed change directs the board of directors to reapportion the board districts to achieve fairness and balance on OPALCO board representation.

You only need to understand the numbers 2,432 and 345 to see the importance of making this change.

The current system of apportioning directors gives some members more representation due merely to where they live. The proposed bylaw change requires that the board fairly apportion the number of directors in each district, and to update the boundaries of each district to make the board representation better aligned with the physical location of the co-op members. This does not change the total number of directors.

Under the current system of districting, San Juan Island has one director for every 2,432 members. Orcas has one director for every 1,812 members. But look at Lopez – Lopez has one for every 1,185 members. And Shaw has one for every 345 members!

At the end of the reapportionment, every member of OPALCO will still be represented by a board director – not one single member will be disenfranchised. Board seats will be reallocated and districts redrawn with the simple goal of having each board seat represent the same number of members.

This change is simply two sentences that attempt to create a more representative balance of members’ opinions on the co-op board. Could it be that the opponents of the proposed change are really against it just because it endangers the overrepresentation they’ve enjoyed in the past?

We members of the co-op exercise our governance in two ways – directly through voting at the annual meeting and indirectly through the actions taken by the directors chosen from each district. The governance exercised by the directors is far more important in the day-to-day and long-term policy decisions of our co-op. It is a simple matter of fairness that no district should have a disproportionate weight in board representation. I urge you to vote “yes” on the bylaw change.

Rob Thesman

Lopez Island