Glen Black has resigned from his position on the DMEA board of directors effective Nov. 26.
Black's resignation followed a Nov. 18 decision by the DMEA board to retain counsel for possible legal action against the City of Delta.
"I couldn't resolve the conflict of being a director on a board that may take legal action against my employer," Black said.
Black is employed as the City of Delta's community development director. Black did not vote on the DMEA board's resolution to retain legal counsel.
The dispute between DMEA and the city revolves around electric service to the Maverik convenience store at the intersection of Highways 50 and 92. DMEA had served electricity to the location when it was owned previously by Brutons. When Maverik took over the location and opened its new facility a year ago, the company accepted a bid from the city for installation of electric service equipment and for providing power.
Black told the DCI he had been absenting himself from board discussions of the Maverik issue, and that the DMEA resolution came as a surprise to him.
The DMEA board believes the city is required, under state statute, to compensate it for revenue lost from Delta taking over electric service at the Maverik location.
A DMEA board resolution approved at the Nov. 18 meeting states, "In order to protect its property rights DMEA must pursue legal action against the City of Delta."
City officials believe a Front Range court decision gave them the right to bid for the Maverik service and take it over without paying compensation to DMEA.
Delta utilities director Steve Glammeyer told the DCI, "We believe that a court interpretation (of the state statute) allows us to compete for electric service at that location."
Additionally, the DMEA resolution states the city took the Maverik business "without granting DMEA the opportunity to compete for service."
The court case cited by Glammeyer involved the City of Loveland and a rural electric provider in the Poudre Valley. DMEA and the City of Delta have been discussing their differences for a year without resolution.
The City of Delta has acquired service territory and electric load from DMEA in past under terms of the state statute requiring compensation for lost revenue. For example, some years ago the city annexed service area including Delta High School and the neighboring Mormon church, and the city compensated DMEA for the transaction, Dan McClendon, DMEA general manager, told the DCI.
DMEA continues to serve some areas within the Delta city limits. "At times when the city has seen a load that would be profitable to them, they have annexed it and paid compensation to DMEA," a DMEA board member said.
But the Maverik deal is different. While Glammeyer maintains the Poudre Valley v. Loveland court decision gives Delta the right to compete for The Maverik service location without compensation, DMEA officials don't see the court ruling as a trump to the state statute.
McClendon said, "What the court ruling actually means has to be determined. There hasn't been much detail provided of what that court case really means," he told the DCI.
In addition, the issue of outright competition between the city and DMEA raises the question of whether that competition will continue, and even grow in the future. If so, should DMEA consider competing directly against the city for service territory and load, McClendon asked.
The DMEA board believes the city is required to compensate the utility for Maverik under the law that "sets forth a statutory process for power-supplying municipalities that annex properties within the DMEA certificated territory to acquire the DMEA facilities and service territories by payment of just compensation," according to the resolution adopted on Nov. 18.
DMEA's attorney, Larry Beckner, explained the utility wants to sit down with the city's attorney and try to determine exactly how the Poudre Valley v. Loveland case affects the Maverik service issue, something that hasn't been resolved in any of the discussions in the past year.
DMEA is retaining the Denver firm of Holland and Hart to aid in the matter. Holland and Hart describes itself as a firm of 400 lawyers with multiple offices in the West, and it is the same firm Delta County has retained to aid in its appeal of a district court ruling against the specific development approval of Western Slope Layers on Powell Mesa at Hotchkiss.
Black encountered a conflict-of-interest problem over the Maverik issue a year ago. Serving at that time as president of the DMEA board, he took a leave of absence from the board as the dispute between DMEA and the city began to heat up. A board-approved change in the DMEA bylaws governing conflicts of interest allowed Black to retake his seat on the board, but he permanently resigned his president's post at that time. He has since been excused from DMEA board discussions about the Maverik issue.
Black told the DCI he had been able to reconcile potential conflict before the Nov. 18 resolution. "Before, I tried to see if I felt comfortable with potential conflict situations. I did, but now with the board I am a director of possibly taking legal action against my employer... well, this one was harder," he said.
Black said the decision to resign was completely his own. He wasn't asked to resign nor was the option suggested to him. He did seek counsel from some trusted associates as he considered his position between Nov. 18 and 26.
Black was serving his first three-year term as a DMEA director. He was elected in June 2011. His seats represents the North Region comprised of Districts 6 and 7, and the Delta County portion of District 3.
According to a DMEA advisory, the bylaws state, "Vacancies occurring in the board of directors shall be filled by a majority vote of the remaining directors and directors thus elected shall serve the remainder of such unexpired term."
A replacement for Black was not discussed during the Nov. 26 meeting, the DCI was told.blog comments powered by Disqus