Oakley, Powers re-elected to PEC board

Lew K. Cohn/Burnet Bulletin
Robert Phillips, left, a PEC member relations regional manager out of the Marble Falls office, presents the United States flag, while Wes Womack, a journey worker from Marble Falls, presents the Texas flag during the PEC annual meeting Saturday, June 22, at Horseshoe Bay Resort.





By Lew K. Cohn

Managing Editor

The Highlander

Burnet County Judge James Oakley won re-election by a very slim 55-vote margin to the Pedernales Electric Cooperative board of directors at Saturday's annual meeting, held at Horseshoe Bay Resort.

Oakley, seeking his third three-year term as a PEC director for District 5, received 1,565 votes, while Blanco County attorney John A. Watson received 1,510 votes. Lisa Ivie Miller received 1,456 votes and Kenneth Reneau received 286 votes.

Meanwhile, District 4 incumbent director Jim Powers was also re-elected as he defeated two challengers. Powers, who was seeking his second term on the board, received 2,558 votes, while Kathi Thomas received 2,066 vortes. Joe Pool received 1,282 votes.


PEC celebrates grand opening of new district office

Lew K. Cohn/Burnet Bulletin
Representatives with PEC and Marble Falls/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce cut a ribbon to celebrate the grand opening of the new PEC district office in Marble Falls.




By Lew K. Cohn

Managing Editor

Burnet Bulletin

Pedernales Electric Cooperative officials had a proverbial “Chamber of Commerce day” Wednesday, June 27, as they celebrated the grand opening and ribbon cutting for the new Marble Falls district office on US 281.

Patti Zinsmeyer, executive director of Marble Falls/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce, welcomed a large crowd to the facility to see up close what she called “a grand addition to Marble Falls and the Hill Country.”

Zinsmeyer also pointed out PEC recently observed its 80th birthday as the cooperative has been serving the Texas Hill Country since 1938. She praised the involvement of PEC in the local community, especially at the Marble Falls Walkway of Lights and Christmas Light Up Parade, both of which are sponsored by the Chamber.


Pedernales Electric celebrates 80 years

PEC's board of directors in 1939. From left are Paul Stehling, Tom Carr, E. Babe Smith, O.S. Brumley, A. Ricketson, Charles Howard, R. Klappenbach, Hugo Weinheimer, L.W. Chick, L.A. Warner, Lyndon B. Johnson, Lee McWilliams, Arthur Stehling and John McLeod.

On May 19, Pedernales Electric Cooperative turned another year older, ushering in the 80th anniversary of the cooperative’s formal incorporation in 1938.
Citing limited potential for profits, investor-owned utilities at that time refused to extend electric line to the Texas Hill Country. As a result, local leaders took on the challenge to brighten the communities they called home.
On May 19, 1938, newly-elected Congressman Lyndon B. Johnson and representatives from Blanco, Burnet, Gillespie, Hays and Llano counties met in Austin to sign an official document incorporating “Pedernales Electric Cooperative.”
Johnson, area rancher E. Babe Smith and Burnet druggist Roy Fry, would later meet in Fry’s Rexall Drug Store to discuss signing up PEC’s first members.


PEC Complaint Committee recommends against removing Oakley from Board

PEC director and Burnet County Judge James Oakley

By Lew K. Cohn

Managing Editor

Burnet Bulletin

A Pedernales Electric Cooperative complaint committee has stopped short of calling for the removal of Burnet County Judge James Oakley from the Board of Directors entirely but has recommended his removal as Vice President of the cooperative's board.

The recommendation of the Complaint Committee will be discussed and action taken during Tuesday's regular Board of Directors meeting at the cooperative's headquarters in Johnson City.

The board will also consider a resolution by Oakley to rescind the bylaws for removal and discipline of a PEC director from bylaw amendments that were put in place just one week before Oakley made a post on Facebook which brought national media spotlight to the PEC and cast Oakley in an unfavorable light.


Tensions run high as PEC investigates merit of complaint filed against Oakley

By Frank Shubert

Bulletin Publisher

At a meeting held Wednesday by the Complaint Committee established by the Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC) on November 30, tensions ran high and continued Thursday regarding a complaint filed against board member James Oakley. The executive session  that followed PEC member comments was ended when Complaint Committee member and director Kathryn Scanlon left the proceedings. They continued on Thursday.

The Complaint Committee, which included Scanlon, board president Emily Pataki and director Paul Graf, was joined by general council Don Ballard and special council Don Richards. The committee was charged with investigating a complaint filed by PEC board member Cristi Clement against Oakley.


PEC Board votes 6-0 to investigate Oakley complaint, consider possible removal

James Oakley

The Pedernales Electric Cooperative Board of Directors voted 6-0 Wednesday, Nov. 30, to give written notice to director James Oakley that the board will consider his possible removal on Jan. 17 if a complaint filed against Oakley is found to merit such discipline.

In a resolution approved at a special called meeting, the board voted to establish a committee to investigate the complaint against Oakley and determine what punishment, if any, he may face for a social media post made earlier in the month in which Oakley commented it was “time for a tree and a rope” for the suspected killer of a San Antonio police officer.

Board President Emily Pataki indicated the committee, which will be comprised of directors Kathy Scanlon, Paul Graf and herself, can consider all avenues open to them through the cooperative's bylaws, including removing Oakley from the position he has held since 2013.


Oakley Facebook comment draws fire

Facebook is a wonderful tool for people to use, but like any tool, it should be used with great care.

The social media site is useful for helping people keep in contact with friends scattered across the globe whom they haven’t spoken to for years. It allows family to reconnect and allows the sharing of photos, ideas and news with others within one’s peer group.

However, it also instantly shows, without context, intent or clarity, the thoughts and ideas a person clacks out on their smartphone or computer keyboard and exposes those posts to instant scrutiny.

Such is the case involving Burnet County Judge James Oakley, who learned a very hard lesson this past week about the lack of anonymity Facebook affords.

On Monday, Nov. 21, Oakley shared a post from the San Antonio Police Department about the arrest of an African-American man, Otis Tyrone McKane, accused of killing San Antonio police Det. Benjamin Marconi on his personal Facebook account.


PEC Solar Tour coming Oct. 1

The Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC) will partner with the Texas Solar Energy Society to host the sixth annual Hill Country Solar Tour on Saturday, Oct. 1.

This year’s solar tour will feature homes in the Oak Hill area of PEC’s service territory in Southwest

Austin from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Based out of PEC's Oak Hill office, 9115 Circle Drive, in Austin, the event will highlight the growing region.

“We’re seeing increased interest in renewable energy and interconnections throughout the PEC

service territory,” said Blake Beavers, PEC’s renewable and distributed energy manager. “More than

1,000 members have already made the move to generate their own clean power.”

In addition to the self-guided tour of four local homes utilizing solar power and other renewable

technologies, the event will offer members and guests the opportunity to visit with local solar experts

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