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What Are Your Thoughts on Cobb EMC?

A busy week for Cobb EMC included the retirement and proposed rehiring of its embattled chief executive and a court hearing involving his indictment on theft and racketeering charges. Now it's time for you to have a say.

Cobb EMC, the nonprofit, customer-owned electric cooperative that serves about 200,000 customers across parts of Cobb, Cherokee, Bartow, Fulton and Paulding counties, has faced a pretty hectic few weeks.

  • Dwight Brown, the co-op's chief executive, retired Monday to fulfill terms of a 2008 court-ordered settlement between the company and suing customers. Brown had served as CEO since 1993.
  • The Cobb EMC board asked court permission to rehire Brown. As it awaits approval, Brown remains on the books as a consultant. Brown was indicted Jan. 6 on 31 theft and racketeering charges.
  • The board dropped a lawsuit against some of its customers who had sued it three years ago. The suit accused the customers of violating the 2008 agreement, saying their actions led to the grand jury investigation that resulted in Brown's indictment.

In the most recent development, Brown's attorneys contend that the indictment itself was handed down illegally because it was served in the new Superior Courthouse four days before the building's official opening to the public. State law requires indictments to be served in public, and Brown's legal team said a regular citizen could not access the courthouse Jan. 6.

Superior Court Judge Robert Flournoy III on Thursday said he would give attorneys on both sides until March 14 to file their final documents before he made a ruling.

Marietta Patch, launched just two months ago, is admittedly a little late in the game on this story. Most of it developed years before the site was even a grass seed. The story has been covered thoroughly by both the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which broke the story in 2007, and the , which provided gavel-to-gavel coverage of the latest hearing on Twitter on Thursday. The indictment of Brown came down within a week after Marietta Patch went live.

Additionally, you can find materials supporting the Cobb EMC position here and those against Brown and the Cobb EMC board here.

At Marietta Patch, we want to be a forum for your views and serve as a community gathering place where civil discourse can take place online. As you have seen in recent weeks, this site has become the place to air views about the calendar as well as the March 15 vote on SPLOST. Now it's time to open up the site to comments about Cobb EMC.

Tom Barksdale March 09, 2011 at 01:22 PM
I am the chairman of the Cobb Alliance for Smart Energy (CASE), the sponsors of www.cobbemcwatch.org. Thank you for your kind words. We are the only grassroots movement mobilizing opposition to the current leadership of Cobb EMC by supporting reform candidates to run against the entrenched incumbents. There is something you can do today, March 9, to further the cause of CEMC reform. A bill, HB 316, was recently introduced into the Georgia House of Representatives. It would require all Georgia EMCs to permit members to attend board meetings. It’s the best piece of legislation regarding EMCs introduced in the General Assembly in living memory. It faces an uphill battle. Right now, it seems stalled in the committee to which it has been assigned, the Energy, Utilities, and Telecommunications Committee. The chairman of that committee is Don Parsons, from Cobb County, District 42. I will be talking to Rep. Parsons this afternoon, March 9. Please contact Rep. Parsons’ office this morning by phone and/or e-mail and deliver this message: “I support HB 316, the EMC open meetings bill. I hope you will support it, too. I urge the Energy, Utilities, and Telecommunications Committee to expedite consideration of this bill and send it forward to the full House to be voted on. I hope Rep. Parsons will continue to do all he can to secure approval of HB 316.” Contact info: repdon@donparsons.org Phone: 404-656-9198 401 State Capitol Atlanta, Georgia 30334
nancy hosford March 11, 2011 at 01:06 AM
My power bill is unbelievable, it goes up every month and I have no choice but to pay it.They have cut my power off before due date on more than one occasion in the winter with small children in home. They ought to have plenty of money as they are robbing their customers.
an80sreaganite March 29, 2011 at 03:49 PM
I own property in another state that gets its power from a "co-op". At least there I get a check once a year as a participant in the co-op. Admittedly, it doesn't even cover the taxes on the electricity I bought, but it still feels like I belong to an actual co-op. I've never received anything but a bill from Cobb EMC... This whole thing with Cobb EMC & Brown stinks to high heaven. I suspect they keep paying him as consultant because he "knows where all the bodies are buried" in the whole fiasco. The entire board ought to be cleaned out, a new one appointed and a new CEO & CFO hired. Is there REALLY no one else qualified to run Cobb EMC?
Pat Henry March 29, 2011 at 04:43 PM
The technicality that allowed the indictment to be ruled "flawed" was a contrived set up from the get go to allow a guilty Brown to walk away without jail time for years to come while the merits are appealed to the GA Supreme Court. We, the ratepayers, will have to pay for the prosecution as well as the defense. It is unbelievable that an attorney could not find his way into the court house that day. He had a cell phone I am sure and he knows the way into the old courthouse which has a skywalk into the new court house. He graduated from law school and passed the bar and you expect us to believe that he really could not find his way into the court room? Barnes arranged for this whole scenario - using his associate and his appointed judge. Brown is excused not because he is clean but because of trickery. What I do not understand is why the indictments did not include the Board and the attorneys - after all, Brown said they all approved of everything he did. By the way, the Cobb attorney appeared before Don Parsons' committee (I forgot his name - Hunter something - he was at the Cobb Republican convention and is very, very tall). He told the committee he was not prepared to speak that day, but that there were may lies told by the EMC members (including Fletcher Thompson), and that he would talk to them in PRIVATE! And, they were okay with that. So much for transparency. During the hearing, Don Parsons was bored, detached, and never asked anyone a question.
Tom Barksdale March 30, 2011 at 02:08 PM
I want top remind new participants in this forum that there is a group that has been working for two years to bring reform to Cobb EMC by electing reform candidates to its Board of Directors. That's the group that I head, the Cobb Alliance for Smart Energy (CASE). CASE is an independent, Cobb-based grassroots movement led and supported by fed-up CEMC members and ordinary citizens concerned about honest corporate governance. Check us out on Facebook or at www.cobbemcwatch.org. I stress "independent," because there are special interest groups based in Atlanta who are attempting to hijack the CEMC reform movement to serve their own selfish motives. Check with CASE for details.

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