Annual Members’ Meeting – 2021 Minutes


The 83rd Annual Members’ Meeting of Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative, Inc. (SMECO) was held on Thursday, August 26, 2021, at the Mechanicsville Volunteer Fire Department, 28165 Hills Club Road, Mechanicsville, Maryland, 20659, at 6:00 p.m.

Welcome:  P. Scott White, Chairman of the Board of Directors, welcomed attendees to the Mechanicsville Volunteer Fire Department where the event was held.

Call to Order:  Chairman White called the Annual Meeting to order at 6:03 p.m.

Credentials and Election Committee:  Chairman White reported that in accordance with Article III, Section 3.05 of the SMECO Bylaws, the Board of Directors appointed a Credentials and Election Committee to resolve all questions that may arise with respect to the ballots cast and to monitor the election process.  The following 2021 Credentials and Election Committee members were in attendance at SMECO’s 2021 Annual Members’ Meeting:

Calvert County

  • Guy Hall
  • Terry Shannon

Charles County

  • Joyce Hilwig
  • Jerome Short
  • James Wheeler

Prince George’s County

  • Gary Tarbox, Jr.

St. Mary’s County

  • Bryant Joseph
  • Ernest C. Williams

Notice of Annual Members’ Meeting:  Fern G. Brown, Secretary-Treasurer, was called upon to verify the mailing of the annual meeting notices and ballots of the 2021 Annual Members’ Meeting.  Secretary-Treasurer Brown reported that she duly certifies that the United States Post Office in St. Paul, Minnesota, mailed 143,946 notices of SMECO’s 2021 Annual Meeting of Members along with mail-in ballots and log-in credentials for voting online.

According to SMECO’s bylaws, 500 members, at least 50 of whom must attend this meeting in person, are necessary to constitute an official quorum.  We have met the quorum requirements to conduct official business for this year’s meeting of the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative.

Introduction of Board Candidates:  In accordance with SMECO’s bylaws, candidates may be nominated by petition or by the Nominating Committee, which met on May 12, 2021 at SMECO’s Headquarters Auditorium, Hughesville, Maryland.  Chairman White introduced the following Board candidates:

Calvert and Anne Arundel counties:

  • Susan Hance-Wells
  • Theresa Kuhns

Charles County:

  • Jim Berry
  • Kenneth W. Cross
  • Kenneth L. Dyson
  • Deriece Harrington

St. Mary’s County:

  • W. Rayner Blair III
  • William R. Cullins III
  • James P. Dell
  • David B. Richards

Chairman White thanked all nominees for their interest and participation in the SMECO Board election process.

Reading of Minutes:    A motion was made, seconded, and carried to dispense with the reading of the minutes of the 2020 Annual Members’ Meeting and the minutes were approved as written.

Introduction of President & CEO:  Chairman White introduced Sonja M. Cox, SMECO President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

President’s Remarks:  CEO Cox welcomed members attending the 83rd Annual Members’ Meeting since SMECO’s founding in 1937.

CEO Cox recapped the cooperative’s accomplishments of the past year. Cox said that SMECO’s margins for 2020 totaled more than $28 million, with the majority allocated to our members’ capital credit accounts. “Given the favorable financial year, your Board of Directors approved a Capital Credit general refund of approximately $4.2 million,” she said. Eligible active members received a credit on their bills and checks were issued to eligible former members. The refunds were issued in July. “We are happy to issue capital credit refunds to our members when financial obligations have been met. Passing savings on to members is a basic co-op principle.”

Before the cooperative refunds Capital Credits, margins are used to invest in new construction and infrastructure improvements. “Despite the pandemic, we were able to make significant upgrades during the past year to increase the reliability of our electric system. SMECO has replaced substation transformers at the Lexington Park and St. Charles substations, and work continued on the new Mt. Victoria substation. SMECO also completed the construction of its new office building in Leonardtown. The facility will house a back-up operations center, a back-up customer care center, and a redundant, highly available data center to enhance business continuity.

CEO Cox added, “Putting our members first is what drives us. Not only is our goal to provide safe, reliable, low-cost power to our members, we are also looking at new and innovative solutions to meet our customers’ needs. We want to transform the member experience and grow the number of products and services that we offer.”

Questions & Unfinished Business:  Chairman White called for any questions from the membership.  There was none.

New Business:  Mr. White called for any new business.  There was none.

Report of Election Results:  Mr. White called Terry Shannon, Chairman of the Credentials and Election Committee, to report on the results of this year’s election.

Election of Directors Report:  Terry Shannon, on behalf of the Credentials and Election Committee, certified and announced that 9,242 ballots were cast in SMECO’s 2021 election. The voting results regarding the bylaw amendments are as follows:

  • 7,355 votes were cast for Article 3.
  • 533 votes were cast against Article 3.
  • 7,289 votes were cast for Article 5.
  • 647 votes were cast against Article 5.

Both bylaw amendments will be adopted. Terry Shannon, Chairman of the C&E Committee, announced the names of the candidates who were elected and the number of votes cast for each candidate:


Calvert and Anne Arundel counties:

  • Susan Hance-Wells

Charles County:

  • Kenneth W.Cross
  • Kenneth L. Dyson

St. Mary’s County:

  • W. Rayner Blair III
  • William R. Cullins III

Number of votes:

Calvert County (one elected)

  • Susan Hance-Wells — 4,860 votes
  • Theresa Kuhns — 3,134 votes

Charles County (two elected)

  • Jim Berry — 3,676 votes
  • Kenneth W. Cross — 3,980 votes
  • Kenneth L. Dyson — 4,445 votes
  • Deriece Harrington  — 3,805 votes

St. Mary’s County (two elected)

  • W. Rayner Blair III — 4,118 votes
  • William R. Cullins III — 5,243 votes
  • James P. Dell — 3,654 votes
  • David B. Richards — 2,625 votes

The following SMECO members were elected to serve on SMECO’s Board for three years: Susan Hance-Wells in Calvert County; Kenneth W. Cross and Kenneth L. Dyson in Charles County; and W. Rayner Blair III and William R. Cullins III in St. Mary’s County. Chairman White thanked everyone for attending SMECO’s 83rd Annual Members’ Meeting.

Adjournment:  There being no further business, the 2021 Annual Members’ Meeting was adjourned at 6:26 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Fern G. Brown