Alabama One Board Members Retain Their Seats
The three board members from the scandal-plagued Alabama One Credit Union have retained their seats, according to the challenger who reported that he had lost.
“Yep, I was thoroughly trounced,” Jerry Logan said on March 30, the Monday after the $603 million credit union’s March 28 annual meeting. “But I plan on contesting the way this election was conducted, if only for members who might come after me and also want to make a difference.”
Alabama One’s nominating committee recommended three incumbent directors – Edwin “Danny” Harrell, Richard Powell and Larry Sexton – for re-election. However, Jerry Logan collected enough signatures to run and based his campaign on making the credit union accountable to its members again after what has been a difficult two or three years.
Logan, contacted at a volunteer job, said he could not recall the vote count but added that it had not been particularly close.
Alabama One did not respond with a vote count or the numbers of votes each candidate drew, but CEO John Dee Carruth issued a statement about the process.
'Alabama One Credit Union is proud to be a membership organization and we value the fair and open process for selecting the Board of Directors," Carruth wrote in an email. "We take elections very seriously, and the credit union engaged ES&S to conduct this election. ES&S is an independent and very reputable third-party firm that has conducted elections in all 67 counties in Alabama as well as throughout the United States. ES&S developed and distributed the election instructions, received and collected all ballots, and was the sole party to determine the results. We are extremely confident in the process and the results, which saw the reelection of three Board members. We are grateful to all members who participated in the election."
Logan’s focus, combined with the ongoing wave of allegations of wrongdoing at the credit union, gave the contest an energy rarely seen in a credit union board election.
Logan served on the board back when the credit union was BF Goodrich employees’ credit union and left in 2004 after the board took what he viewed as an unnecessary and expensive decision to change its name. He decided to petition to return to the board after it declined to take questions at its 2013 annual meeting about a series of scandals and loan losses the credit union has suffered.
One of the recent member suits named one of the three incumbents, Alabama One Board Chairman Edwin Harrell, as one of the defendants.
Logan said he planned to challenge the election based in part on the way the credit union printed the ballot and on what he alleged credit union staff told members about how they had to vote.
The ballot grouped the three incumbents under the heading “recommended for re-election by your nominating committee” while Logan was listed separately under the heading “nominated by petition.”
“That seems to be a clearly biased presentation to me,” Logan said, alleging further that credit union staff continued telling members they could not vote for just one candidate if they wanted their votes to count, even though Logan said Alabama officials had warned the credit union not to do so.
Print advertising, letters from the CEO and an alleged campaign of disinformation were all part of the campaign. Sarah Moore, administrator of the Alabama Credit Union Administration, said anyone is free to file a formal complaint about the election to the ACUA. She declined to say what would happen next, observing that she could not comment on documents that she had not yet seen.