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Valley’s District 6 director not seeking re-election to Nye County co-op

A longtime board member for Valley Electric Association Inc. is not seeking re-election.

Dave Dawson, District 6 (north Pahrump) director for Valley Electric Association, who joined the board in 2008, is keeping his name out of the potential line of candidates for Valley’s spring elections.

“I am committed to serving our members and fulfilling my fiduciary responsibilities for our cooperative for the duration of my term,” Dawson said an Oct. 1 news release from Valley. “It has been an honor to serve.”

Dawson said in Valley’s release he looks “forward to expanding my community involvement as I retire from the board.”

Dawson is one of six former and current directors on Valley Electric’s board that have faced scrutiny by a members’ group seeking his removal from his seat.

Past turmoil

A members’ group known as VEA Members for Change began its petition drive to remove what was then six directors from Valley’s board in early 2018. Two of those targeted directors are still on the co-op’s board: Dawson, and Dave Hall, president of Valley’s board of directors, and District 2 (Amargosa Valley) director. Hall was re-elected to a three-year term in 2019.

Members for Change rose out of an announcement that Valley Electric was raising rates in February 2018.

Hundreds of Valley members came out to sign the petition at that time for the removal of the six directors.

The number of members coming out to sign the petition increased after the announcement of a criminal investigation by Nye County Sheriff’s Office, stemming from allegations that former Valley CEO Thomas Husted had sexually harassed an employee and “hush money” was paid to several former and current employees to keep quiet. That was followed by the arrest of former CEO Angela Evans on suspicion of embezzlement, where allegations were that she used $75,000 of co-op money for work done on her personal residence.

Husted has never been charged with anything, and Evans has been the only person arrested out of the investigation. Evans was never charged.Though the petition never yielded the intended result of removing all of the directors at the time, several board members have resigned their position since that time, for various reasons, including personal and health.

John Maurer, now former director for Valley’s District 4 (Fish Lake Valley), resigned a few weeks before his term was set to expire in 2019. He hadn’t sought re-election to his seat. Peter Gazsy, former director for District 1, resigned from his seat in May, citing that he was facing a recall of his seat. Ken Derschan, former board president and District 5 director, also resigned in May.

Rick Johnson, who was the director for Valley’s District 3, resigned from his position at the end of August.

Members for Change recently worked to gather signatures for the removal of Hall and Dawson at the Fall Festival, according to a social media post.

Bruce Holden, who identified himself as the leader of Members for Change, said in an email the group is “very close to having the required number of petition signatures to force a district meeting for the purpose of removing…Dawson from his position. We expect to submit our petitions within the next two weeks. It is our position, along with hundreds of VEA members, that Dawson is such an inadequate director that the membership cannot wait until next April to have a new director in District 6.”

The elections for District 6 and the District 5 seat (Sandy Valley), currently held by Terrie D’Antonio, will occur in the spring of 2020. Valley Electric mailed out notices of the elections to all members in those districts in the first week of October, according to a release from Valley.

D’Antonio is also moving into the interim CEO position at Valley on Nov. 1. She replaces current interim CEO Dick Peck.

Valley Electric’s board has contracted with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association to facilitate its new CEO search process, Valley’s board announced in mid-August.

D’Antonio will not receive compensation during her time as interim CEO, according to Valley. According to previous interviews with Peck, a permanent CEO of Valley is expected to be named by Thanksgiving.

Contact reporter Jeffrey Meehan at jmeehan@pvtimes.com on Twitter @MeehanLv

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