In what Carroll Electric Cooperative Corporation (CECC) terms “positive” and attorney Bill Ikard of Ikard Wynne, LLP terms “unacceptable” and “egregious,” the electric co-op Board of Directors changed its bylaws on Oct. 27 to prohibit class action suits against itself, among other changes.
The board voted these changes in while the merits of a complaint filed by Ikard in July, initiated by Gordon Watkins and Dane Schumacher on behalf of all co-op members, have yet to be decided by the Arkansas Public Service Commission (APSC).
The complaint requests declaratory and injunctive relief, seeking “increased transparency, more democratic governance, repayment of capital credits, a halt to the use of herbicides without the landowners’ permission” and more.
The bylaw amendements compel members to bring disputes to arbitration.
The party requesting arbitration must pay for its initiation, and whoever loses will pay the costs, including attorney fees. If the dispute is dismissed, the party bringing the complaint must still pay the costs of the other.