Annual Meeting registration: a gratifying success
The “grand experiment” of drive-through registration for Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative’s 2020 Annual Meeting of Members succeeded far beyond my wildest dreams. Coronavirus-induced restrictions on large gatherings of people required procedures that would minimize close physical contact among all individuals involved in the registering process. Consequently, the Blue Ridge team devised a plan that would enable our members to remain in their vehicles throughout.
On three consecutive days—May 19, 20, and 21—members could present their information at either the Oconee or the Pickens office and participate in the annual meeting. The format allowed each individual to cast a ballot, which included voting for (1) a director candidate, (2) some bylaw amendments, and (3) a question regarding at-large districts. Next, they would receive their door prize, plus a goody bag, and then be on the road again. Each registered member’s name was automatically included in the random drawings for the 35 door prizes that were given away on the closing evening of the event. All members receiving a rain check for the door prize should have their griddle delivered by the end of August.
In the final analysis, a record 6,843 members participated. Even so, the traffic flowed smoothly, and the entire exercise took no more than a few minutes for any one vehicle. Also, the votes were overwhelmingly in favor of both the bylaw changes and the existing at-large means of electing directors. In the Anderson County director contest, incumbent Ben Bolt prevailed over challenger Rick Driver by a margin of 4,683 to 925. Directors Len Talley (Oconee) and William Elrod (Pickens) were each unopposed in reelection bids for another three-year term on the cooperative’s board. A video of my yearly management report became available for viewing on the Blue Ridge website at 7:00 p.m. on May 21.
It would be an understatement to say that we received heartwarming responses from so many of the members who were part of the first drive-through annual meeting. The multitude of hearty endorsements indicated that this feature should definitely be employed in the future. We’ll certainly be keeping that in mind as we begin making plans for coming together again in 2021.