Board President Addresses Cancellation of Annual Meeting

Board President Addresses Cancellation of Annual Meeting

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Jeanine Murphy
Leavenworth
Board President

Board President Addresses Cancellation of Annual Meeting

FreeState members have witnessed some unprecedented decisions in the past few weeks across the world, our nation, and locally. As a cooperative, we look to best practices for a lot of guidance, and we’ve done that again as we face the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Those best practices have forced the board of trustees to make a difficult decision. We are canceling our annual meeting.

The cancelation was a decision we had to make because at FreeState our concern for community goes beyond the places we live, it is about our community members and their safety, health, and overall well-being. It was a matter of public safety to make this decision and knowing that some of our loyal members could also be considered the most vulnerable during this pandemic. We take our responsibility of caring for our communities very seriously.

Across our area, most have started to practice social distancing by closing community hubs like schools, churches, and community centers. We’ve adjusted our plans to stop gatherings in large numbers, and we’ve asked people to stay home to help prevent any further spread of this illness. We are doing our part to help where we can because at this time, so many of us feel helpless and out of control.

There is something we can do to help those feelings, and it’s another aspect of the cooperative principle of concern for community that guides us. We can help each other and take care of one another. We can lookout for our neighbors, and we can help those most impacted by closures and cancelations. We can help feed our kids who rely on school lunch, and we can bring a sack of groceries to an elderly neighbor who is too vulnerable to get out to the store.

As a board, we realize we are all in this together. We’re moving through a fluid situation, but we’re doing all we can to make sure that not only our members are safe, but that the employees at the cooperative are also safe and healthy. The decisions we make are not taken lightly, and I hope you all can remain patient with us as we get through the coming weeks and months. The pandemic response is all something new in a lot of ways, and all we can do is what we think is best.

That’s why we made the hard decision to cancel this year’s meeting. We will miss seeing our members in Perry, but remember that we’re all still here, and we’re ready to provide you with the best service around. Your lights will stay on amid this dark time.

However, you will still be able to vote for your trustees. We’ll be electing four this year. Ballots will be mailed to your home starting April 1, 2020 in a FreeState envelope. Each member will get a ballot and detailed instructions are included on the ballot, as well as a prepaid envelope to return your vote. We ask that members take a moment to vote and drop that envelope back into the mail by April 17, 2020.

Please do not send votes to the co-op in a different envelope. Do not include them with your monthly payment, and do not bring them to the offices. Simply drop them in the mail in that prepaid envelope provided and your vote will be counted.

I want to also thank the management and employees at FreeState for doing their part in getting through this pandemic response. We are lucky to have such incredible people working behind the scenes to power our homes, businesses, and communities.  

You can stay engaged with FreeState all year by visiting our website at www.freestate.coop, reading the monthly magazine Kansas Country Living, and finding us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

We look forward to seeing you at next year’s annual meeting.

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