Members wary to sit on JWC board

JENKINSVILLE – While the Jan. 11 annual meeting of the Jenkinsville Water Company (JWC) was not the donnybrook it was the last two years, there were still a number of angry outbursts and shouting matches between the president of the Water Company Board and several of the 20 or so water company members who attended the meeting.

The main event of last week’s meeting was the election of new Board members for four open seats.  According to the by-laws, each member is allowed one vote for each of the four seats. As members arrived and registered, they were each handed one set of four ballots.

In past years, members have complained that the balloting was rigged and that some members, including Board members, voted multiple times for a seat. Some notice was taken at this meeting when Secretary Tangee Jacobs entered the meeting room with a handful of ballots. She later turned them over to the JWC attorney, Chris Archer with Goodwin law firm in Columbia, saying, “I don’t want anyone to think I’m stuffing the ballot box.”

As it turned out, however, no ballots were needed for the election.

Unlike last year, when many of the 100 or so members were clamoring to be elected to the Board to gain some control over what they said was an errant Board, this year no one at all sought election to the Board, not even the four Board members whose seats were open. With a lawsuit, filed by member D. Melton, breathing down the neck of JWC and with JWC Board President Gregory Ginyard and Vice President Joseph McBride also named in the suit and the growing worry that more or, perhaps, all of the Board could be named as defendants, there was no interest in joining the fray.

When there were no takers for Seat 1, Ginyard nominated incumbent Mary White who reluctantly accepted the nomination and was elected by acclamation.

While several members were nominated for Seat 2, none accepted.

“Doesn’t anyone here want to be on the Board?” Ginyard pleaded. Finally, Seat 2 incumbent Julie Bernell agreed to continue in her seat and she, too, was elected by acclamation.

“If you don’t like it [being on the Board], you can quit at any time,” McBride assured members as he pleaded with the audience for someone to accept the nomination for Seat 3. Finally, member Rose Yarborough agreed reluctantly, asking for assurance that she could quit anytime.

When no one could be cajoled into serving in Seat 4, a motion was made to limit the Board to nine members instead of 10 and move on. The vote was unanimous to do so.

With a new Board in place, Ginyard called for the election of Board officers. Ginyard, McBride and Jacobs were re-elected to their offices. The Board’s CPA, Yvette Jones, was elected treasurer, and Preston Peach was elected Chaplain.