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■ president’s message Moving Forward Demands the Right Leadership F


irst, I would like to say it’s an honor to serve as chairman of the board that governs Choctaw Electric Cooperative(CEC).


Your co-op board members—myself included—sought to represent each region of the CEC service area to make sure your co-op is well-managed and to maximize the co-op’s service potential to all members.


Most CEC customers are aware of the challenges we faced following the December 5, 2013 ice storm. That unprecedented storm tested the endurance of our dedicated line staff. Fortunately,we were blessed to have numerous contract crews helping us restore service following this disaster.


I want you to know that your board is very pleased with the direction in which your co-op is moving. We have invested millions of dollars in right-of-way clearing, upgraded substation breakers, line regulators and transformers, and


improved monitoring technologies that provide us with real-time line-status reports throughout our service area.


Maintaining these positive management trends is critical to CEC’s long-term success. That’s why your board took actions to prevent other electric cooperatives—and even larger regional corporations— from hiring our current manager, Terry Matlock, with offers that included substantial increases in both salary and benefits.


As co-op board members, we are in contact each week with board members and managers of other electric cooperatives who are involved in every aspect of the rural electric business. Leaders in the rural electric cooperative financing sector have singled out Choctaw Electric as one of the best managed co-ops in the nation. Because of our success and outstanding operational principles, our management team has been invited by these financing specialists


to manage other co-ops that lack such strong, demonstrated leadership.


This is one of several reasons why your CEC board of trustees chose to increase our current manager's retirement benefit. We want to continue making positive changes in CEC operations and administrative services without the disruptive


MIKE BAILEY PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD


shock that comes from seeking and implementing new management.


“I want you to know that your board is very pleased with the direction in which your co-op is moving. We have invested millions of dollars in right-of-way clearing, upgraded substation breakers, line regulators and transformers, and improved monitoring technologies that provide us with real- time line-status reports throughout our service area.”


Under current management, your co-op has made huge gains in its day-to-day operations. We are now providing the most consistent service in the history of the co-op, but we refuse to rest on our laurels. Our goal is to provide even better service, and reduce our per kilowatt- hour charge as much as possible.


Your board, along with CEC management and staff, will continue to work together to make needed improvements. One priority is to increase and improve our communications with our members and minimize misunderstandings that threaten the longstanding spirit of cooperation and good will on which your electric cooperative was founded.


We encourage input from our members, and pledge our continued support to make Choctaw Electric Cooperative the very best that it can be.


—Mike Bailey, President CEC Board of Trustees


4 | september 2014


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