Tri-County Electric Flap

Some members of the Tri-County Electric cooperative are voicing opposition because the cooperative is giving trustees health insurance coverage even after they found out it was against their bylaws.

It was hard to find a seat at the monthly Tri-County Electric cooperative meeting in Madison County. The reason: the matter of health insurance benefits for trustees. Some residents were passionate about wanting this privilege to stop.

"In the light of the fact they you have known it to be wrong to take this insurance even when asked to discontinue it you are showing a tremendous disregard for the by laws of this organization," says Joe O'Neal.

"Whoever voted for it, I know it's wrong, but it's nothing but right for these people to have this and continue with it and I know it's grown out of proportion," Junior Smith adds.

In fact the by laws clearly state, "No trustees shall receive compensation for serving the cooperative in any other capacity unless the payment is authorized by a vote from the members."

The cooperative has paid thousands of dollars for health benefits and that money has come from fees collected from the members' electric bill.

"I feel like they should drop the insurance in fact the trustees should pay back the members they money for this illegal fund," Bob Pugh says.

Members say they're upset because the cooperative has paid more $80,000 a year since they were informed about the bylaw in 2000. The general manager of the cooperative would not comment on camera. Members will get an opportunity to vote on the issue at the annual meeting on September 20.