Tippah Electric's board election marred by ballot error

RIPLEY – The Tippah County Electric Power Association will require a do-over of the election to fill the seats of three board members whose terms have expired.
Ballots mailed out this week to members in good standing contained an incomplete list of candidates for the Area 4 seat.
Board candidate Buford Glissen’s name appeared on the ballot twice, while candidate Ben Shappley’s name was omitted. Both are challengers to incumbent John Reid.
No decisions had been made late Friday on how the association will rectify the error.
“We are trying to work through how to correct the printer’s error,” said association attorney Brad Dillard of Tupelo.
The power association was holding the first election of board members in its 70-year history.
A letter from association officials to members said there have always been elections. However, nominating and voting in the election was done only by board members, not the general membership.
“There is and has always been only one criterion for nomination to directorship, that the member have a heart for what’s in the best interest of TEPA in order to serve,” the letter said.
“The board of directors has always nominated those members whom they thought would direct the co-op in the best way. With no consideration of race or gender, they were voted on by the sitting directors just as the by-laws stated from 1938 to 2009.”
Twenty candidates were certified to run for the three board seats that are up for re-election this year, with each to serve a three-year term.
The three seats in contention include the at large seat, Area 1 and Area 4.
The at large post included 13 candidates: Paul Adams, Miriam Anderson, Fred Bell, John Bruce Braddock, Kenneth Carter, Jimmy Flake, Kenny Hill, James Elvin Huddleston, Jim Jones, Tim Needham, Greg Richardson, Randy Waldon and Arnold Witt. Incumbent Fred Permenter Jr. chose not to seek re-election.
Candidates in Area 1 opposing incumbent Shan Tidwell are Rusty Benefield and Ricky Martin.
For Area 4, incumbent John Reid is opposed by candidates Johnny Childs, Buford Glissen and Ben Shappley.
Others on the nine-member board are Erskine Cummings, Area 2; Kim McMillin, Area 3; John Stanford, Area 5; Wallace Tomlinson, Area 6; Stanley Rolfe, Area 8 and Harry Shelly, Area 9.
Ballots were to be mailed to all association members in good standing this week, with a Nov. 12 postmark deadline to return them.
A candidate must receive 50 percent of the votes plus one to be elected outright, and officials planned to announce winners at the Dec. 10 board meeting.
Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or lena.mitchell@djournal.com

Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal