Public Power Magazine

Don’t Miss Our 2013 Annual Business Meeting

From the May 2013 issue (Vol. 71, No. 3) of Public Power

Originally published May 1, 2013

By Mark Crisson
President & CEO, American Public Power Association
May 1, 2013

Mark Crisson

As the national representative of public power utilities, the American Public Power Association is not unlike most of our members. We are a member-driven organization, governed by a 30-member board of directors that is elected by the membership. The policy positions communicated to members of Congress and officials of federal agencies reflect the thorough deliberation and approval of APPA’s member utilities.

The association’s democracy may work a little differently than that of its member utilities. Members of the APPA board of directors serve staggered three-year terms. No board member serves more than two consecutive terms. Board members represent 10 geographic regions of the United States and its territories. Each year, when board seats are open, APPA’s Nominations & Awards Committee reviews applications and suggestions for board nominees and presents a slate of nominees for election by all APPA members at the association’s annual business meeting.

The business meeting occurs on the second day of the APPA National Conference. This year, that meeting will take place at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, June 18 during the National Conference in Nashville, Tenn.

The APPA by-laws require that at least 75 members be present to conduct the association’s business during the annual business meeting.  In recent years, we have come perilously close to falling short of the required quorum.

Beyond electing representatives to the board of directors, members of APPA also affirm public policy positions developed by the association’s Legislative & Resolutions Committee. Membership on APPA’s L&R Committee is open to every member utility.  The committee meets twice a year—once in late winter, during the annual Legislative Rally in Washington, D.C., and again in June, during the annual National Conference. Each time the L&R Committee meets, members propose, discuss and vote on policy resolutions. Sometimes debate in the committee is spirited because APPA has a highly diverse membership that includes very small communities in largely rural states and relatively larger utilities in some of the nation’s largest cities. Often, a policy that is important to small utilities may be counter to the interests of APPA’s larger members, or it may simply be inconsequential to some members.  It is in the L&R Committee that APPA members educate one another about parochial needs. Issues are debated, the language of resolutions is polished and resolutions are adopted—or rejected, depending on the issue.

APPA’s policy development process is similar in some ways to the approach in the U.S. Congress, where subcommittees and full committees analyze and rewrite proposed legislation. In the L&R Committee, APPA positions are analyzed, discussed and refined. 

But the actions of the L&R Committee are preliminary. Every policy resolution approved by the committee must be approved by the full membership during the annual business meeting before it becomes the official position of the APPA. APPA staff rely on approved policy resolutions in carrying public power’s official message to Congress and federal agencies. When we do so, the public power industry is speaking with a unified voice and legislators and policymakers recognize and understand that we are presenting the positions of a unified and vital segment of the electric utility industry—not just the narrow interests of a scattered few utilities.

As with any public policy agenda, the sway of our message is strengthened with full participation of our members. Every APPA member should designate an individual to serve on the Legislative & Resolutions Committee and every APPA member utility should designate a voting delegate to attend the annual business meeting during the National Conference.  For any given utility, the L&R Committee member and the voting delegate at the annual meeting may or may not be the same individual.  That decision is up to each utility. But participation is vital to APPA’s effectiveness as an advocate for public power utility needs.

The strength of our message is threatened if we fail to produce a quorum at our annual business meeting. Please be sure your utility sends a voting delegate for the 2013 annual business meeting.  The voting delegate must be registered in advance of the business meeting.  Member utilities can identify the voting delegate through the advance registration process, or on-site in Nashville.  Each voting delegate will receive a ribbon to attach to his or her conference badge. That ribbon assures the voting delegate’s admission to the official delegate section of the annual business meeting.

Members with questions about this process should get in touch with Shelley Padilla, APPA manager of executive and administrative services. She can be reached by email at or by phone at 202.467.2902. 

I look forward to a strong quorum and a productive annual business meeting on June 18 in Nashville.


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Members of the American Public Power Association receive Public Power magazine as part of their annual dues payments.  The subscription rate for non-members without the annual directory is $100 per year in the United States and $130 per year outside of the United States. A subscription that includes the annual directory is $200.  The annual directory alone can be purchased for $150.

Public Power is published eight times a year by the American Public Power Association. Opinions expressed in single articles are not necessarily policies of the association.

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