Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC) is charged with representing the interests of its member-owners. Yet until recently, REC’s board made it difficult for member-owners to get basic information about how much they are paid. REC’s board sets its own pay, so having full and easy access to the details about board pay is the only meaningful limit on how much they can enrich themselves.
Repower REC launched a year ago to compel REC to act on behalf of member-owners by being transparent about its finances and governance. Because of our work, REC has finally posted information about the total compensation REC pays board members and senior executives. This is a small but significant step in the direction of full transparency at our electric co-op. It’s a sure sign that the Repower REC campaign is making a difference.
This information comes through the posting of the tax forms REC is required to submit to the IRS. These forms reveal the total amount paid to each board member annually. The most recent return (2017) shows that board pay for board members who served the entire year ranged from $34,150 to $43,350. This compensation is for part-time work on a nonprofit board.
It’s unclear exactly why Board pay differs greatly from member to member. The likely explanation is that board members give themselves a $500/day payment when they attend meetings or conferences. That’s on top of the $2,000 per month they pay themselves just for being on the board. Apparently, some board members attend considerably more of these events than others. So, the more meetings and conferences board members attend, the more they enrich themselves. It’s unclear what these higher paid board members do that benefits us at these meetings. REC has refused to provide details of board member travel to out-of-town meetings and events.This system is rife with opportunities for abuse, as happened recently in South Carolina. That’s why a group of reform-minded candidates is running in this summer’s REC board election Click here to learn about them and why it’s critical you exercise your right to vote when the proxy ballots arrive in your mailbox in early July.