From the Offices of State Senator Troy Fraser and State Representative Patrick M. Rose

For Immediate Release
December 16, 2008
Contact: Janice McCoy on behalf of Sen. Fraser (512-463-0124)
Mireya Zapata on behalf of Rep. Rose (512-463-0647)

STATEMENT ON NAVIGANT REPORT ON PEC

"We are outraged over the findings in the Navigant Report on the Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC) management practices. The allegations that Bennie Fuelberg, former general manager, ordered documents to be shredded, erased data from computers, and funneled over $500,000 in cooperative funds for questionable purposes through the Clark, Thomas & Winters law firm come as no surprise.

"These actions are consistent with Mr. Fuelberg's management style and his long standing policy of keeping cooperative information from members. The inability of the members to elect anyone other than those hand-picked by the Board of Directors contributed to Mr. Fuelberg's complete control of the cooperative.

"We have always believed that further misdeeds of the PEC Board of Directors and former General Manager would be uncovered. While the Navigant review is a good first step toward knowing what truly happened at PEC, we cannot close the door on finding the truth. It is imperative that the Office of the Attorney General continues to aggressively pursue its criminal case against the former leadership at PEC and we support General Greg Abbott in those efforts.

"Members want the whole truth. Unfortunately, Navigant was not able to subpoena uncooperative board members like R.B. Felps, the current board President. Mr. Felps was a board member during the entire 10 year period investigated by Navigant and it is unacceptable that he refused to answer questions.

"We need to get people under oath answering questions about what really went on at PEC headquarters. With a Grand Jury convened in Blanco County, we believe the right questions are now getting asked and answered. We know the Attorney General is working as fast as possible to get a successful resolution to this complex investigation.

"It is our cooperative and it is our money, and as cooperative members, we deserve to know how and why decisions are made. We must work together to get this entity back on track. The current PEC Board of Directors must be accountable to the members. We have called on the Board to make major changes to its management policies. And, while there have been changes toward openness and fair elections, there is still work to be done.

"We are strong supporters of electric cooperatives. The beauty of the electric cooperative system is that members can determine how best to run the system through the election of a board of directors. If members do not like the policies set by the board of directors, they can and should vote them out of office.

"We are committed to ensuring that what happened at PEC does not happen again - at any electric cooperative. As members of the Texas Legislature, we will ensure that all cooperative members have a voice and have the ability to know how and why a board of directors is making decisions. We are working on legislation that would require electric cooperatives to hold open meetings, to have an open records policy, and to have open and fair elections."

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