CEDAR PARK — Pedernales Electric members voted to replace one board member and keep another in election results announced Saturday at the cooperative’s annual meeting.
Emily Pataki, a Cedar Park small business owner, won 8,943 votes (about 51.6 percent) to incumbent William D. Boggs’ 8,393 (49.4 percent). Although the cooperative’s board elections are nonpartisan, Pataki, a prominent Williamson County Republican, drew support from elected officials from across the region including State Rep. Jason Isaac, the Dripping Springs Republican whose district includes Hays and Blanco counties.
Meanwhile, Austin accountant Kathryn Scanlon won a third term despite failing to secure a majority of 17,285 votes cast in her race. She received 7,966 votes (about 46.1 percent) with the remainder split between three challengers: Don Zimmerman, who received 4,488 votes (26 percent); Arnold LeVine, who received 3,037 votes (17.6 percent); and Judy Lawler Pokorny, who received 1,794 votes (10.4 percent).
In a special organizational session held immediately after the annual meeting, board members re-elected longtime Wimberley resident Patrick Cox as its president. Scanlon was elected vice president and director Cristi Clement was chosen secretary-treasurer.
First elected to the board eight years ago in a chaotic 20-candidate free-for-all, Cox was among a wave a new directors swept into office by a backlash against allegations of mismanagement and malfeasance against former cooperative board members and managers. In the years since, PEC has made substantial reforms to its management and governance and is “the most open and transparent co-op in the country,” Cox told the nearly 700 members who attended the meeting.
“We have returned to our core business and core values,” Cox said. “We have made significant progress the past five years. … We have made tremendous accomplishments in restoring trust, financial accountability, and transparency while providing excellent, member-friendly services to our members. The success of PEC is built on the trust of our members and our employees.”
Based in Johnson City, Pedernales Electric provides electricity to residents in 24 counties including nearly all of Hays County except for a corner serviced by either the city-owned San Marcos Electric Utility or Bastrop-based Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative.
The two board seats up for re-election this year shared the ballot with a non-binding referendum on whether to rework the cooperative’s unusual hybrid single-member district system. The cooperative’s 8,100 square miles of territory is divided into seven districts but all of the cooperative’s 220,000 or so members can vote in every election, regardless of where they live.
More than 9,200 member opted to keep at-large voting, a comfortable but not overwhelming majority at 53.7 percent. About 7,950 votes (46.3 percent) were cast in favor of allowing members to chose their own local representative on the board.
For all the fervor that attends PEC elections, only about 8.1 percent of the cooperative’s 219,571 members voted this year. The vast majority cast ballots either by mail (11,424) or online (5,731) while 329 people voted at the meeting itself.
This story was updated throughout with additional information at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, June 22