By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
SALTILLO – North Lee County Rural Water Association members elected three new members and reinstated one current member to serve on its board of directors during a packed meeting Thursday evening.
They are: Terry Anderson, who won another term; and first-time board members Donnie Lesley and Tom Tindall. All will serve three years. A fourth candidate, Michael Dickerson, will fill the remaining time on a two-year term left vacant by Jack Dillard, who has died.
About 200 customers of the utility gathered at Birmingham Ridge Baptist Church for their first annual gathering since last year’s upheaval. At the October 2011 meeting, the previous board had resigned amid allegations of fraud levied by employees and published by the Daily Journal.
Since then, a new board has overseen the utility. A list of improvements was provided to member customers Thursday before the election. Among the changes were upgrades to the wells and office equipment, the implementation of a regular flushing schedule, and the certification of about one-third of the system.
“We started off this year with roughly 30 percent of the system we serve that we never had certification on, so even though we had lines out there, we never secured the right to serve that,” said board Chairman Ken Clemons.
“So many of the areas that needed improvement were in this area,” he said. “Now we can officially go in there and do work.”
After the update, members heard from nine of the 11 candidates vying for the four board seats. Then members cast ballots by writing the names of the four people they wished to elect.
Unlike last year’s annual meeting, during which customers openly criticized board members and the water quality, this year’s meeting was brief and civil.
“It’s definitely improved,” said Mary Gardner. “The board is working together, and I think the crew needs some credit. They come out right when you call.”