ANNUAL MEETING OF MEMBERS
Each year, the Cooperative holds an annual meeting of members to elect directors and conduct business. We hosted this year's event on Saturday, August 21, 2021.
Sumter Electric Membership Corporation held its 83rd annual meeting on August 21st on the campus of South Georgia Technical College in Americus. Members and guests attended the second drive-in Annual Meeting of Members and were entertained by South Georgia native Brandon Wheeler and his special guest Mike English.
President/CEO Rene Smith introduced Mr. Andy Payne who filled the Webster/Randolph Counties seat left vacant by the retirement of Mr. Raymond Goodwin. Mr. Payne was recognized as a welcome addition to the Board who brings with him a wealth of knowledge and appreciation for the members of Webster and Randolph Counties.
Smith spoke on a range of issues facing Sumter EMC’s members, including the need for high-speed internet in rural areas. He shared that broadband internet service has become a necessity to households, much like electricity, that young people need to access educational resources from home, and their parents need access to work for their employer remotely. Smith also shared that having access to broadband internet is an economic development issue, as many families refuse to live where broadband is not offered, and that farmers need to have access to modern technologies to improve efficiency and production. Smith explained that Sumter EMC is firmly committed to looking for ways to help its members close the digital divide.
Smith mentioned utility-scale solar projects where Sumter EMC continues to be involved. One such project, SR Terrell in Terrell County near Bronwood, is made possible through a collaborative effort with Green Power EMC. Through projects like SR Terrell, Sumter EMC will continue to diversify its electric generation options, reduce its carbon footprint, and invest in renewables and energy efficiency.
Smith conveyed the benefits of Operation RoundUp® and the members’ ability to help provide financial support for emergency needs, charities, education and health and safety in local communities. Through Operation RoundUp®, Sumter EMC members can choose to round-up their electric bill to the nearest whole dollar and the difference is compiled and dispersed by Sumter EMC’s Foundation Trustees. Smith reported that since 2003, Operation RoundUp® member-donors have given $1,118,000 to make a difference in their local communities. He also reminded those in attendance that members can sign up online at sumteremc.com or simply call and speak to a local customer service representative about Operation RoundUp®, Cooperative Solar, or any other program offered by the Cooperative.
Smith thanked the hard-working employees of Sumter EMC. He showed gratitude to the dedicated linemen and support personnel who work in extreme weather conditions and long hours to ensure the power stays on. He asked that the members please show their appreciation to the hard-working team who continues to restore power after outages and who work tirelessly to ensure Sumter EMC members and their families receive electricity.
Lastly, Mr. Smith expressed his gratitude for critically important work in the director election process conducted by the Nominating Committee and Credentials and Election Committee.
Secretary-Treasurer William E. Harris reported that Sumter EMC experienced another successful year in 2020 and that the Cooperative is in sound financial condition. The 2020 financial audit of the Cooperative was conducted by the certified public accounting firm, McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks & Co., LLC. During the 2020 year, capital credits totaling $824,000 were refunded to members.
Mrs. Donna Ford, Chairman of the 2021 Nominating Committee, presented four nominees for election: William E. Harris, Sumter County; Glenn Davis, Terrell/Dougherty Counties; Andrew M. Payne, Webster/Randolph Counties; and Lisa A. Davis, membership at-large. The membership elected the four nominees, as presented, to serve for a three-year term.
Following the annual meeting, a special meeting of the Board of Directors was held to elect officers for the 2021-2022 year. Dr. Cecil Myers was elected Chairman; Mr. Michael D. Webb as Vice-Chairman;
Mr. William E. Harris as Secretary-Treasurer and Ms. Christi Dockery as Assistant Secretary.
Mrs. Andrea Walker, Vice President of Marketing and Administration, presented Kimberly Griffin with the grand prize, a $1,000 Sumter EMC electric service gift certificate, Adam Holley with the second prize, a $500 Sumter EMC electric service gift certificate, and Juanita Benson won the third prize, a $250 Sumter EMC electric service gift certificate. A total of 242 Sumter EMC members were in attendance.
Sumter EMC thanks its members for their continued support of their local electric cooperative and for their attendance at the second drive-in Annual Meeting.