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

February 24th, 2009
PEC cuts Burnett pension, awards Garza bonus

STAFF REPORT

It’s out with the old and in with the new at Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC), where the board of directors rescinded a supplemental retirement package for exiled former President W.W. Burnett and paid present General Manager Juan Garza a $30,000 bonus for his performance in 2008.

Burnett retired in November 2007 as scandal enveloped the nation’s largest electric cooperative, which serves more than 200,000 customers over more than 8,000 square miles around the Texas Hill Country. Cooperative directors had approved a supplemental retirement package of $4,895.05 per month in 2001.

Starting in the summer of 2007, however, co-op members have led an effort to democratize PEC’s board elections process and to stop fraudulent spending and mismanagement by the cooperative’s leadership. Amid the furor, Burnett and PEC General Manager Bennie Fuelberg both retired.

Since then, PEC has eliminated its self-perpetuating nominating committee for directors elections, as well as it’s proxy voting system.

Tuesday’s meeting of the directors marked Garza’s one-year anniversary since taking the job for a salary of $350,000. The board awarded Garza a $30,000 bonus of its own volition.

“I appreciate very much the confidence the board is showing me, and to the (board) members who were here who hired me, I want to again express my appreciation to all of you for bringing me on board,” Garza said. “I think we’ve done a lot of things that we can all be proud of, and I want to remind the board that the accomplishments of this last year are not the accomplishments of one person. I’m proud to be here.”

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