San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

May 28th, 2008
From Lila Knight:
‘A keen eye for how boards should operate’

EDITOR’s NOTE: More than two dozen people are running for the board of directors of member-owned Pedernales Electric Cooperative including 20 for district 7 which encompasses much of western Hays County. PEC customers can vote online here or by mail through June 13 or at the cooperative’s annual membership meeting on June 21. The San Marcos Mercury is printing correspondence and commentary in our new Pedernales Electric channel in the Community Blogs section.

These are Lila Knight’s answers to a questionnaire distributed to candidates by PEC a watchdog group,, as published on Knight’s campaign Web site.

Lila Knight

Kyle | District 7 candidate

» Candidate’s Web site

» Candidate forum video

A user of PEC utilities since 1983, Lila Knight resides in Kyle. She holds a BA and MA from the University of Texas and was employed there for 15 years. For the last 13 years, Lila has been a historic preservation consultant. She has been a member of, or served on committees for: Preservation Texas; the Historic Bridge Foundation; Wimberley Institute of Cultures; the 1997 Road Bond Committee; San Marcos Historic Commission; the 1998 Hays County Subdivision Task Force; the 2007 Kyle Citizens Comprehensive Planning Committee; Friends of the Pound House; the Katharine Anne Porter House Committee; the Kyle City Hall Committee and currently serves on the Kyle Planning and Zoning Commission.

Lila’s background and experience with various organizations and boards has given her a keen eye for detail and knowledge as to how boards should operate.

Questionnaire responses:

Please indicate your level of support or opposition for the following proposed changes in PEC policies or in PEC Bylaws. For each item, please circle one of the following options:

  • Oppose Will not support the proposed change in PEC policies or in PEC Bylaws;
  • Neutral Will neither support nor oppose the proposed change in PEC policies or in PEC Bylaws;
  • Support Will support the proposed change in PEC policies or in PEC Bylaws; or,
  • Advocate Will work to make the proposed change in PEC policies or in PEC Bylaws by making motions at Board meetings, and advocating for their adoption.

(1) Adopt a Bylaw for a mission statement that states that PEC’s sole purpose is to provide reliable electric service and other related services to its members and that: (a) PEC will be managed and operated for the sole benefit of its members as a whole; (b) PEC will manage its affairs in a cost-effective manner; (c) PEC will provide electric service and other services in a cost-effective manner; and, (d) PEC will strive for economy and efficiency in all phases of its operations.

Lila’s Answer: Support

(2) Reduce Board compensation by at least 50% , and provide compensation only for current Directors and only for services actually performed for PEC.

Lila’s Answer: Would only accept $150 per meeting

(3) Repeal the Bylaw allowing PEC contributions to retirement plans for Directors.

Lila’s Answer: Advocate

(4) Repeal the Bylaw creating nonvoting Advisory Directors, as totally unnecessary expenses.

Lila’s Answer: Alternate: advisory directors would be requried to be specialists in the field with real professional qualifications

(5) Adopt a Bylaw to prohibit the expenditure of PEC funds for lobbying public officials.

Lila’s Answer: Advocate

(6) Adopt a Bylaw to require that all procurements for PEC goods and services be competitively bid on a periodic basis, and all existing procurements not competitively procured must be competitively bid within 1 year.

Lila’s Answer: Advocate – except that this is a policy issue, not a bylaws issue

(7) Adopt a Bylaw to prohibit the expenditure of PEC funds for “ghost” employees, and require that all employee compensation be only for work actually performed.

Lila’s Answer: Advocate, escept this is a policy issue, not a bylaws issue

(8) Adopt a Bylaw to prohibit the expenditure of PEC funds for entertainment and adopt compensation policies for travel, meals, lodging, and seminars for the Board and PEC employees similar to those used by the State of Texas for public employees.

Lila’s Answer: Advocate, a policy issue, not a bylaws issue

(9) Adopt a Bylaw to create a three-member audit committee of voting Directors to review and approve expenditures of PEC Directors and PEC officers for compliance with reimbursement under PEC Bylaws and PEC policies.

Lila’s Answer: Advocate

(10) Adopt a Bylaw to require PEC to follow the provisions of the Texas Open Meetings Act regarding Board meetings, and follow the provisions of the Texas Public Information Act regarding access to PEC records.

Lila’s Answer: Advocate

(11) Adopt a Bylaw to require periodic cost-of-service studies to be performed to ensure: (a) that the electric rates for the various customer classes are fair and cost-based, and (b) that service initiation fees for customer-specific costs are balanced with the debt and debt service costs required to provide service to new accounts.

Lila’s Answer: Advocate

(12) Place detailed up-to-date expenditure information on PEC’s website available for viewing or downloading.

Lila’s Answer: Advocate

(13) Adopt Bylaws regarding election of Directors to: (1) change the definition of a member for purposes of voting from each account to each residence, each household, each business, each farm, each ranch, etc. to eliminate votes for accounts that serve only pumps for water wells; (2) redraw district boundaries every five years with an approximately equal number of members; and (3) elect directors from single-member districts to ensure that the will of the majority prevails in each district, not the will of the majority of the members as a whole.

Lila’s Answer: Advocate

EXCEPT That I would OMIT number ONE

(14) Adopt a Bylaw to limit the length of service of a Director to four three-year terms.

Lila’s Answer: Advocate EXCEPT that I would limit it to THREE 3-year terms

(15) Adopt a Bylaw to require Directors to take an Oath of Office administered by an elected Texas judicial officer to abide by the PEC Bylaws and be bound by fiduciary duties, including but not limited to: (a) those fiduciary duties imposed by State, Federal, or other statute or code, or under common law; (b) fiduciary duties of obedience, loyalty, due care, good faith, candor, fair and/or honest dealing, and full disclosure, and (c) fiduciary duties to refrain from self-dealing and act with integrity of the strictest kind.

Lila’s Answer: no – this relates to public office. Not relevant to coop.

(16) Adopt a Bylaw for Director performance that specifies that the failure to abide by the fiduciary duties required in the Oath of Office constitute a violation of trust, and, based upon substantiation of such failure by the Board of Directors, it shall be the duty of the PEC Board of Directors to notify in a timely manner each member of PEC in writing of the name of the each Director failing to abide by such specified fiduciary duty and the nature of the each such failure.

Lila’s Answer: see above.

(17) Adopt a Bylaw to require PEC to provide in writing to each member each year, within a reasonable period time after the close of the fiscal year not to exceed ninety (90) days, a summary report describing the financial activities of the PEC for the fiscal year; the up-to-date status of the member’s patronage capital account; and, plans for patronage capital retirements, and the reasons why such retirements will or will not be occur for the fiscal year.

Lila’s Answer: should be placed on internet rather than being done in writing due to expense of sending to a quarter million members

(18) Direct the General Manager to liquidate the assets of Envision Utility Software Corporation and bring billing software development and maintenance in-house.

Lila’s Answer: Support

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