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Valley Electric searching for new CEO

Valley Electric Association Inc.’s board of directors is searching for its next CEO.

The board has contracted with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association to facilitate its search, according to a news release Monday from Pahrump-based Valley.

“Due to the vacancy in our chief executive officer position, the Valley Electric Association board has contracted with NRECA’s (National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s) Executive Search Department to facilitate the new CEO search process,” the release stated.

“Hiring a new CEO is the most important decision that a board will make,” a release from Valley’s board of directors stated. “We would like to assure the community, employees, and the membership that we are doing everything in our power to identify not only the best technically capable individual, but the best ‘person’ to lead the co-op and represent VEA in the community and industry.”

Valley Interim Chief Executive Dick Peck has been in the leadership position since March 2019. He was the fifth leader to be brought on at Valley in less than a year at that time on either a permanent, interim or acting basis. One candidate, Byron C. Nolde, was designated to take the role but changed his mind just days after being named.

With the new search, this will be Valley’s sixth leader to be brought on at the co-op in less than a year and a half.

Peck was never permanent. He has said publicly on several occasions he never intended to stay in the position permanently and wanted to return to his Alaska home.

Valley investigations

Peck replaced former CEO Angela Evans, who was put on paid administrative leave at the end of February. In early July, a news release from Valley Electric stated Evans was no longer with the company.

Evans had been named permanently as CEO of Valley in October 2018, just months after taking the leadership position on an interim basis in May 2018. She was put on paid administrative leave since the end of February following her arrest on suspicion of embezzlement of $3,500 plus.

Evans has been the only person arrested by the Nye County Sheriff’s Office since an investigation was launched into the co-op in February.

The allegations surrounding Evans’ arrest include that she billed the co-op $75,000 for work done on her personal residence in Pahrump. According to a clerk in the Pahrump Justice Court, formal charges haven’t yet been filed in the case.

Multiple attempts to reach Evans have been unsuccessful.

A larger investigation into Valley Electric has been over allegations that “hush money” was paid to current and former Valley employees to keep quiet about former CEO Thomas Husted’s alleged sexual harassment of a female employee.

Husted has never been charged with a crime or arrested over the ongoing investigation by the Nye County Sheriff’s Office.

Two search warrants were executed in February at Valley’s administrative offices. The first was on Feb. 22 with the second on Feb. 26 when Evans was taken into custody.

Nye County Sheriff’s Office Capt. David Boruchowitz said on Monday the investigation is still ongoing.

Future Valley leadership

All inquiries for those interested in the CEO position are being directed to Tammy Lehman of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Executive Search division. Lehman can be reached at 785-764-0296 or at executivesearch@nreca.coop

“We appreciate your support and understand that this is a time of change and perhaps some anxiety,” a release from Valley Electric’s board stated. “We know that you have concerns and ask that you trust that we will fulfill our obligations and exceed your expectations. That is our goal and responsibility to you.”

Valley’s board consists of six members, each from a different district that coincides with a certain geographic location: Michelle Caird, District 1 (south Pahrump); Kathleen Keyes, District 4 (Fish Lake Valley); Dave Hall, District 2 (Amargosa Valley); Terrie D’ Antonio, District 5 (Sandy Valley); Rick Johnson, District 3 (Beatty); and Dave Dawson, District 6 (north Pahrump).

Contact reporter Jeffrey Meehan at jmeehan@pvtimes.com

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