Tippah County Electric to hold first board election

RIPLEY – Members of the Tippah County Electric Power Association will vote in December in the utility’s first election for members of the board of directors.
Terms of three board members expire this year, and each of those seats has challengers.
“The reason there has never been an election before is that there has not been a candidate who qualified to run against a sitting director,” said attorney Brad Dillard of Tupelo, who represents the association. “The county bylaws are more liberal than the state law in their requirements for board members.”
Members of the Tippah County Citizens Association pressed for the election this year to try to bring more customers into the decision-making, said John Stubbs, president of the citizens association.
Until now, directors of the private utility either have been appointed by other members or have succeeded relatives as they left the board.
“It’s my understanding that since the association was formed in 1938 there have been no elected directors,” Stubbs said. “We just thought it was time for it to be a truly representative board. Our organization works for fair, open and honest government, and all we’re trying to do is open it up for the public.”
Three members of the citizens group have chosen to run.
To qualify to run for a Tippah Electric board seat, Dillard said, one must be a member in good standing of the association; must obtain 25 signatures on a petition of other members in good standing; and must submit the petition on or before the qualifying deadline to the secretary of the association, which has between 13,000 and 14,000 members.
“The board has amended the bylaws to use a mail-out ballot system this year,” Dillard said. Members will receive ballots by the first Thursday in November and must return them or they must be postmarked by the second Thursday in November.
Individuals who have qualified so far are listed below. However, the qualifying deadline has been extended to Oct. 8.
n District 1: Shan Tidwell, incumbent, and Rusty Benefield: The district includes the west part of the county along Highway 4 to Highway 15.
n District 4: John Reid, incumbent, and Buford Glissen: The district includes the area west of Highway 15, north of Martin Street to Highway 370, and part of the city.
n District 7: Fred Permenter Jr., the incumbent, will not run. Candidates are Kenneth Carter, Jim Jones, Randy Waldon and Arnold Witt: This is an at-large seat and every member of the association in good standing will be able to vote.
Others on the nine-member board are Erskine Cummings, District 2; Kim McMillin, District 3; John Stanford, District 5; Wallace Tomlinson, District 6; Stanley Rolfe, District 8 and Harry Shelly, District 9.
“Ballots will be mailed to each member in good standing, but if there are several meters in one name that member will get only one vote,” Dillard said. “At the annual meeting on the second Thursday of December directors who are elected will be announced.”

Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or lena.mitchell@djournal.com.

Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal