Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Trustees Look To Make Difference

By John Severance

SOCORRO – Luis Aguilar, Prescilla Mauldin and Donald Wolberg all have something in common.
They all want to make a difference.
The three will get their chance beginning Jan. 12 when the three are sworn in as the newest board members of the Socorro Electric Cooperative.
In the Oct. 3 District III elections, the three unseated incumbents. Aguilar defeated Herman Romero, Mauldin beat Juan Gonzales and Wolberg defeated Harold Baca.
When the trustees meet on Jan. 12, they also will make history.
Mauldin will become the first woman to ever serve on the Socorro co-op board.
“I just want to make a difference, that is really the main reason why I ran,” Mauldin said. “My platform was that I wanted to have one meeting a month. I wanted to have a public forum.”
The public forum was the driving force behind Mauldin’s campaign.
“The city and the county have public forums and I used to work for the Socorro school districts and the board has a public forum as well,” Mauldin said.
“I think the Socorro Electric co-op should adopt a similar policy. Members should be allowed to speak if they have a question and not have to make an appointment for the following month.”
Mauldin realizes that she probably be on the short end of most votes.
“I likely will not be part of the majority but at least we will have a voice and we can go on the record,” she said.
Mauldin, a gift shop manager at the VLA, also vowed she would not take any excess money that was not earmarked for her expenditures.
“I have my own money,” she said. “That is their (members’) money.”
Wolberg, an adjunct professor at New Mexico Tech, echoed those sentiments.
“I am not going to take any money for attending any of those meetings,” Wolberg said.
“I made a pledge that I would not accept anything from anybody unless the people approved it. I have turned down the medical insurance, the dental insurance and the eye insurance.”
Mauldin said she turned down the insurance as well.
Wolberg, meanwhile, has other priorities.
“I want to introduce the public to the people who are out there risking their lives every day – the maintenance people of the co-op. They should know who the people are who keep their power on 24 hours a day. And we have to introduce the board to the general public. There has been a separation.”
Aguilar also wants to deal with the animosity between the board and its members.
“I kept reading about what was going on at the meetings and it was embedded in my thoughts,” Aguilar said. “Why was there so much animosity or whatever you want to call it at these meetings?
“Anyway, I kept maybe thinking well I have all kinds of time and I am somewhat intelligent and I thought I could contribute to an organization like the coop. So on the filing date, I was drinking my coffee in the morning and I told my wife that I was going to the co-op to file for candidate for trustee.”
And so he did.
“My platform was that I wanted to make things better if I could,” Aguilar said.
After winning the election, Aguilar began attending the meetings on a more regular basis.
And what he did he think of those meetings?
“I was appalled at the conduct at those meetings,” said Aguilar, who was the county manager in 1975. “You know we are all human and we should be able to conduct business in a better manner. I am hoping with the three of us coming in that the meetings will be more amicable.”
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