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Renewables chief sheds parallel role  

Both the Compact and cooperative have come under increased fire over the past several years from a variety of sources, including opponents of wind energy projects; critics who question overlapping roles of Downey and others in the two organizations; and county officials seeking more information on actions taken by the two agencies.

A subcommittee of the county’s Assembly of Delegates recommended last year that the Compact and the cooperative be separately controlled and that each have a separate chief executive officer and separate legal counsel.

Ratepayer funds collected by the Compact should not be used to support the cooperative, and members of the boards of both groups should not overlap, the subcommittee recommended.

More than $2 million in Compact funds have been used to pay for the cooperative’s activities since the cooperative was founded.

Credit:  By Patrick Cassidy | Cape Cod Times | March 19, 2013 | www.capecodonline.com ~~

BARNSTABLE – The administrator of the Cape Light Compact will no longer serve on the board of the separate regional agency she helped form to construct wind and solar energy projects on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard.

Maggie Downey announced her decision to give up the seat on the board of the Cape & Vineyard Electric Cooperative at a Compact meeting last week. She is the Compact’s only representative to the cooperative’s board.

The cooperative, which was formed in 2007 to pursue renewable energy projects on behalf of its member towns, counties and the Compact, has largely given up on wind energy in the face of fierce opposition and is struggling to construct solar projects announced in 2012.

On Monday, Downey said her decision to leave the cooperative was no surprise and was prompted by a reorganization at the Compact following the retirement of another staff member.

She continues to serve as the Barnstable County assistant administrator and the Compact’s administrator.

“I have been speaking privately to individual board members,” she said about discussions leading to her departure.

The Compact was created in 1997 by county officials to buy power in bulk and provide energy efficiency programs for Cape and Vineyard residents, businesses and municipalities.

Both the Compact and cooperative have come under increased fire over the past several years from a variety of sources, including opponents of wind energy projects; critics who question overlapping roles of Downey and others in the two organizations; and county officials seeking more information on actions taken by the two agencies.

A subcommittee of the county’s Assembly of Delegates recommended last year that the Compact and the cooperative be separately controlled and that each have a separate chief executive officer and separate legal counsel.

Ratepayer funds collected by the Compact should not be used to support the cooperative, and members of the boards of both groups should not overlap, the subcommittee recommended.

More than $2 million in Compact funds have been used to pay for the cooperative’s activities since the cooperative was founded.

Compact officials voted in 2012 and again in January to continue to support the cooperative financially until 2015.

The Cape Cod Selectmen and Councilors’ Association released a statement earlier this month in support of the cooperative, but questions surrounding the use of Compact money to keep the cooperative afloat continue to dog both agencies.

Despite mounting external pressure to reorganize the two agencies, Downey said her decision to leave the cooperative’s board was part of an internal process.

“As part of our reorganization internally I would not be able to serve as (the Compact’s) representative” to the cooperative, she said.

Earlier this year county officials announced plans to split Downey’s salary, with 75 percent of it covered by the Compact and 25 percent by the county to reflect the distribution of her duties. Downey made $104,279 in fiscal 2013, according to county records.

Filling her seat on the cooperative’s board will be placed on the agenda for the board’s April meeting, Downey said, adding that if the seat isn’t filled then it will be done during the board’s June meeting.

“As chair of the Compact I am of course delighted not to be sharing her,” said Joyce Flynn, Yarmouth’s representative on the Compact.

Downey’s replacement could be another Compact staff member, Flynn said.

Flynn compared the Compact’s financial support for the cooperative to parents with a child who is unable to move out because of the financial conditions of the recent recession.

“The process of launching from the nest took a little more time,” she said.

Cooperative vice president Charles McLaughlin, who is an attorney for the town of Barnstable and is the town’s representative on the cooperative’s board, said the organization is going through an evaluation that includes possibly hiring a full- or part-time executive director.

“We haven’t clearly defined what the role of that person is going to be,” cooperative President John Checklick of Falmouth said.

[rest of article available at source]
Source:  By Patrick Cassidy | Cape Cod Times | March 19, 2013 | www.capecodonline.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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