SCOTT CITY–Members of Wheatland Electric Cooperative, Inc. (WEC) have elected a new trustee and three incumbents to its 10-member board during this year’s 2023 Annual Meeting, held April 26, 2023, in Scott City, KS, and at seven remote meeting locations across southwest and central Kansas.
Members of the electric cooperative, who attended in record numbers for the second year in a row, voted to elect Lynn Freese (2061 W. Road 230, Scott City, KS) as their District 1 trustee following a nomination that was made by petition prior to the date of the annual meeting. District 1 serves members across Scott and Logan counties.
Freese, a full-time rancher in Scott County, is a 38-year retired employee of WEC. During his tenure with WEC, Freese served in multiple roles including director of member services and supervising the IT, broadband and water departments. He last served as director of consumer services prior to his retirement in 2017.
Freese challenged existing WEC trustee Katie Eisenhour (1106 Myrtle, Scott City, KS), who was nominated by WEC’s nominating committee and had served since her appointment to the board in 2013. Eisenhour was serving as vice president of the board. Freese won his seat by a vote of 358-296, which includes 129 proxy votes carried by members across all eight meeting locations.
Members also elected Josh Young (112 S. Genesse, Leoti, KS) as their District 2 trustee, Stacey Addison-Howland (911 N. Norris, Syracuse, KS) as their District 4 trustee, and John Kleysteuber (6310 E. Old Post Road. Garden City, KS), as their District 5 trustee.
Young, Addison-Howland, and Kleysteuber were nominated by the cooperative’s nominating committee, and faced no challengers by petition or nominations from the floor. Addison-Howland and Kleysteuber will begin their third three-year term (of six available terms), and Young begins his second term.
District 2 serves members in Wichita and Wallace counties; District 4 serves members in Hamilton County and the western half of Kearny County and Prowers County, CO; and District 5 serves the eastern half of Kearny County, Finney County, and a portion of northwest Gray County.
In addition to the election of trustees, members voted 320-287 to pass revisions to the cooperative’s bylaws. These revisions include the following changes:
- Trustee elections will be held by mail starting in 2024. Mail-in ballots must be returned at least five days prior to the annual meeting date.
- Trustees have been given the authority to pass policies on the qualifications of trustees and the rules of mail-in-ballot voting.
- Nomination by petition of trustees must occur with the support of at least 25 cooperative members. (Prior to the bylaw revision, at least 15 members were required for nomination by petition.)
- The nomination committee can now nominate two candidates for each district election.
A record total of 814 individuals including co-op members, special guests, and other non-members, were in attendance on April 26 across our eight meeting locations, including 630 registered members. In addition to our primary meeting location in Scott City, additional remote meetings were also held in Leoti, Tribune, Syracuse, Garden City, Great Bend, Harper, and Caldwell.
This year’s theme – “Feel the Power” – reflects our celebration of 75 years of shared cooperative history with our membership. WEC was first charted by the Rural Electrification Administration in 1948. A historical display of documents and artifacts reflecting our rich and varied history was featured at this year’s primary meeting location in Scott City.
Additionally, members at every location were able to ask questions, offer comments, or choose to make nominations in real time as they viewed the primary meeting location held in Scott City. In addition to voting, members in attendance enjoyed a meal at every location and took home a Dutch oven and a lid/spoon rest engraved by students at Wichita County High School as our thank you for their attendance.
Alli Conine, WEC’s Director of Member Services and Corporate Communications, also presented awards to 14 high school seniors across WEC’s service territory who were recipients of $1,000 scholarships. High school juniors who were selected to attend the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour in Washington D.C., and Cooperative Youth Leadership Camp in Steamboat Springs, CO later this year were also recognized.
In addition, Mark Arnold, trustee and board president, recognized several WEC employees and trustees for their dedication to the cooperative, ranging from five years to 40 years of service. No new business was discussed at this year’s annual meeting.
Our annual meeting summary video is now available on our YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/@wheatlandelectric), where a livestream of the meeting will also be made available soon.
Moreover, our 2022 Annual Report, distributed to those in attendance at our annual meeting, can now be downloaded online and features a special historical section to celebrate our 75th anniversary.
WEC wishes to thank all members in attendance. Members with questions are free to contact their local office or send their questions to email@example.com.