CONYERS — Members of the Snapping Shoals Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) have returned to office three incumbents in a rare contested election to the agency’s 11-member board of directors.
EMC board members set policies and oversee the finances and administration of Snapping Shoals. They serve staggered, three-year terms. The non-profit EMC is a consumer-owned cooperative in Covington, providing service to about 95,000 consumers in an eight-county area, including Henry County.
Gene Morris of Henry County, Walter Johnson of DeKalb County, and Anthony Norton of Rockdale, were being challenged because of their support to build the coal-fire power Plant Washington. Kaye Shipley, also of Henry County, Albert Roesel of Newton County, and Cheryl Mathis of DeKalb County form the group challenging the three. Voting took place at the cooperative’s annual meeting Thursday in Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers.
In the District 2 Rockdale post, 2,400 ballots were cast, with Norton beating Roesel 2,157 to 224. Nineteen ballots were voided. In the District 3 DeKalb County Post, Johnson garnered 2,099 votes to Cheryl Moore-Mathis’ 280. Twenty-one votes were voided. In the District 4 Henry County race, 2,392 ballots were cast, with Morris getting 2,082 votes to Shipley’s 300. Ten were voided. Newton County District 1 representative Pete Knox ran unopposed.
“The Snapping Shoals election was a David-and-Goliath struggle between huge environmental groups with a hidden anti-coal agenda, and unlimited budgets, and the directors of a hometown electrical co-op that happens to have some of the lowest power rates in Georgia, along with very reliable service,” said Morris, who has been an unofficial spokesman for the incumbents. “Just like the story in the Bible, David flung his stone and the giant fell.”
Roesel, Moore-Mathis and Shipley issued a joint press release following the election results, pledging to continue calling for more answers about Plant Washington.
“This is a loss for consumers and sunshine,” Roesel said. “Too long have SSEMC customers been left in the dark when it comes to this expensive coal plant investment. When an average member has questions the EMC makes you jump through hoops to get an answer, but perhaps we’ve shaken things up enough to finally get some answers,” the statement read.
Henry Daily Herald assistant managing editor Peter Scott contributed to this article.