By Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC
Rural electric cooperatives are facing a crisis. Distrust of co-op boards and directors is increasing. Negative news stories and protests across the country are on the rise.
Will this affect you? Should you be concerned?
You may be doing everything perfectly, legally, and ethically – but you could still face a crisis caused by distrust and guilt by association. Your members may question board members at public events or at the co-op’s annual meeting. Angry members may launch a negative Facebook campaign and they may sow the seeds of doubt with your local media, who will then launch an investigation.
What should you do?
You can also learn more about best practices in public relations and crisis communications by using this link to get access to a special 5-part video series on the 5 Steps to Effective Crisis Communications.
To see what other cooperatives are experiencing, use the links below. Accusations involve allegations of excessive per diem and compensation as outlined on your co-op’s Form 990 that you submit to the IRS. Regulators and protesters are asserting that directors are “spending too much money attending conferences in fancy hotels while eating steak dinners.” This may not actually be true for you and your board of directors, but that will not stop inquiries and protests. CEOs & general managers are losing their jobs. Board members and directors are being voted out.
I spent 15 years as a television reporter and reported on electric cooperatives. For the past 20 years I’ve worked with electric cooperatives across America helping them communicate more effectively and navigate difficult situations. I’d be honored to help you as well.
For immediate help, phone me at 985-624-9976 or send an email to Gerard@BraudCommunications.com
Problems at a Cooperative in Georgia
Accusations by the Louisiana Public Service Commission
Bold steps taken by one Louisiana Cooperative
Problems in Oklahoma
Video being shown to various community groups at community meetings:
Article from Oklahoma where wrongdoing was involved
Problems in South Carolina
Potential problems in Alabama
This group has made posts on Twitter and Facebook about Joe Wheeler’s board pay and the replacement of a deceased board member with his wife.
An example of an opposition group called “We Own It.”
Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”
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