Ex-PEC board member prepares for fight to get on 2023 ballot
A former director on the Pedernales Electric Cooperative board has filed to run for the District 3 seat currently held by board President Mark Ekrut. Randy Klaus said he will file an injunction in Blanco County, where the PEC headquarters is located, if he is not put on the ballot.
Klaus, a certified public accountant, represented District 3 from 2017 until early 2020. The district includes parts of Travis County between Cedar Park and Smithwick. He told DailyTrib.com that he resigned from his Board of Directors seat on Feb. 21, 2020, “under duress.” The board’s counsel rebuffed Klaus’ attempt to rescind his resignation via email, which stated the seat became vacant as soon as the board president and counsel received Klaus’ letter.
Klaus then applied to run in that year’s election but was denied a place on the ballot by PEC’s Qualifications and Elections Committee, which vets candidates.
“My name was inexplicably excluded from the 2020 election ballot by the powers that be,” Klaus said in a recent media statement. “I was qualified in 2017 and nothing has changed since then. They won’t disclose why I was disqualified in 2020.”
When asked why Klaus did not pass the vetting process for the 2020 ballot, PEC issued the following statement via email:
“In 2020, Randy Klaus voluntarily resigned from the PEC Board and agreed not to run again. Despite his voluntary resignation and statement to not run again, Mr. Klaus applied to be a Board Director candidate in spring of 2020. The Qualifications and Elections Committee determined Mr. Klaus was not qualified.”
The QEC consists of a co-op member from each of the seven districts who are appointed by their respective board members. Directors are expected to submit their appointments for the 2023 QEC by Feb. 1. The seven members will be seated on the committee at the following regular board meeting, which is at 9 a.m. Feb. 17 at PEC headquarters, 201 S. Avenue F in Johnson City.
Klaus explained that he resigned in the “heat of the moment” during an executive session as he was disclosing details of what he called an “intimidating” off-site meeting with two lawyers affiliated with the PEC. He further said he is already preparing paperwork to file an injunction if he is again left off of the ballot.
Over the past year, as he geared up for the 2023 election, Klaus sent multiple emails objecting to his treatment by the PEC to the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Attorney General’s Office, the PEC board and management, and a plethora of Central Texas media outlets. As of Thursday, Jan. 26, he had filed 13 open records requests with PEC.
“We are aware of Mr. Klaus’ claims and messages,” PEC said in a statement to DailyTrib.com via email. “His concerns are an incorrect description of what occurred. No one at PEC has been contacted by any entity (bar association or state attorney general) about his accusations.”
What happens next, will once again be up to the Qualifications and Elections Committee, which meets April 5-6 at PEC’s Johnson City headquarters. The slate of candidates is expected to be announced at the Board of Directors’ April 21 meeting.
PEC members will vote from May 16-June 9. Election results will be announced no later than June 12, four days before the annual member meeting, which is at 9 a.m. June 16 in Johnson City. Winning candidates will be sworn in at the board meeting immediately following the annual meeting. Board officers for 2023-24 are also elected at that time.
The deadline to file an application for candidacy is March 27.
Potential board candidates must:
- maintain a primary residence in the PEC board district in which they are seeking election and receive continuous electric service for at least one year (see Article III of the PEC bylaws for complete qualifications);
- obtain original, verifiable signatures on the form provided by PEC from 50 PEC members who live within their voting district or have a designated voting membership within that district;
- and physically deliver completed materials to the Governance Team at PEC headquarters, 201 S. Avenue F, Johnson City, TX 78636, no later than 5 p.m. March 27.
Klaus delivered his complete application on Jan. 20, the same day as a board meeting. An email from PEC on Monday, Jan. 23, said the petitions team verified and confirmed the 50 required signatures on his petition.
Information on how to file for seats in districts 2 or 3 can be found on the PEC Nomination by Petition page. Interested members may also request materials by contacting 888-554-4732 or firstname.lastname@example.org.