Members of Norris Electric Cooperative (NEC) attended their co-op’s 86th Annual Meeting of Members on Saturday, Feb. 24, marking the first annual meeting for electric cooperatives in Illinois for 2024. During the meeting, consumer-members were provided updates about the cooperative from its leadership and elected four directors to the board.

In a contested election, Dave Thoele was newly elected to represent Effingham County, defeating two opponents, Nathan Garbe and Terry Van Dyke. This is an excellent example of the cooperative principle of democratic member control in action. The cooperative provided members with multiple ways to vote and make their voices heard.

Thoele replaced Gilbert Garbe, who retired from the board. Ava Lemmon of Crawford County, Gordon McClure of Jasper County and Scott Weiss of Lawrence County ran unopposed and were re-elected to the board.

“As we recognize 86 years of the co-op, there have been many changes in people, technology and equipment, and all these make a strong co-op,” said Board President Gordon McClure. “The board continues to stay focused on sound financial decisions to provide reasonable electric rates so NEC can deliver safe and reliable electricity to the co-op members.”

Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. Directors are elected among the membership and are accountable to them.