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

March 8th, 2009
PEC settlement upheld

STAFF REPORT

The Texas Third District Court of Appeals in Austin has upheld the settlement of a class action lawsuit filed against Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC) by a group of its members in July 2007. The court handed down its decision last week.

Settlement of the lawsuit was reached through a final judgment signed by the trial judge in May 2008, with an appeal of the settlement filed by David Allen Hall soon following. The three-justice panel addressed each of the 10 issues presented in the Hall appeal, affirming the trial court’s judgment in the case.

“We realized litigating the suit could stretch the process out over many years, at significant cost to our members before a final decision would be reached,” PEC General Manager Juan Garza said. “We have consistently maintained the settlement is in the membership’s best interest, and I remain convinced settling the lawsuit was the most prudent financial course. We are heartened by the Court of Appeals’ decision, and we are ready to move ahead. We also appreciate our members’ involvement in making their cooperative a better, more responsive entity.”

Garza said PEC has made constructive reforms since the suit was filed.

“I respect Mr. Hall’s convictions and his right to express his concerns,” Garza said. “This process has made us more attentive to our members’ needs, and we’ve had a remarkable amount of success in a very short time, Since the filing, PEC has new management. board elections are open and democratic. Board activities are subject to cost controls, board meetings are taped and posted to our web site, and board compensation has been decreased. PEC has implemented policies ensuring open meetings and open records. All of these improvements better serve our membership, and they can take credit for these achievements.

“We look forward to focusing more attention on our core business, which is providing reliable electricity to our members at a fair cost,” Garza continued. “We’ll continue to revise our processes and work toward restoring the trust and faith of our membership. The Court of Appeals’ decision is a great help to us on that path.”

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