FreeState Believes in Transparency
FreeState Electric Cooperative, Inc. exists to continue to improve the quality of life of our members and the communities we serve by providing services that are safe, reliable and competitively priced. Your cooperative is a not-for-profit cooperative, collectively owned by its membership and member-focused. The cooperative difference is something FreeState is very proud of.
FreeState Electric Cooperative is a 501 (c) (12) Electric Cooperative (not for profit) that is self-regulated by its member-owners.
FreeState Electric scored 77 on its recent American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) member satisfaction survey. It compares favorably to successful companies like Heinz and Levi Strauss and is consistently higher than the national score among all electric cooperatives in the United States. It is also well above the scores for the investor-owned utilities and municipalities: 73 and 74. FreeState is also considered a “High Performing” cooperative by its insurer, Federated Rural Insurance Exchange.
FreeState retires capital credits when the Board of Trustees deems it economically feasible to do so. Last year, FreeState paid back $800,000 to you the members.
For transparency, FreeState Electric Cooperative, Inc. has filed and made available its FORM 990 for many years.
For income tax purposes, most electric cooperatives in Kansas are tax-exempt entities under I.R.C. 501(c)(12). Although they have no income tax liability, they still report their activities to the Internal Revenue Service on the IRS Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. The form is intended to give the government and the public a picture of the organization’s activities each year. Part VII of this form lists compensation for current and former officers, directors, trustees, key employees, and up to five independent contractors receiving more than $100,000 in payment from the organization. This data is further detailed in Schedule J, Part II for key employees between reportable and estimated compensation.
The IRS 990 information is public information and can be found online. It is important to understand the full context of what is required to be reported. The 990 includes compensation commonly reported on W-2:
- Base compensation
- Bonus & incentive compensation
- Other reportable compensation
The 990 also includes a column for Estimated Compensation (amounts that are not part of the employee’s take-home pay). Those include:
- Retirement and other deferred compensation which includes contributions to the employee’s retirement or deferred compensation plan plus the annual change in actuarial value of a defined benefit plan. This actuarial value can impact 990 significantly.
- Nontaxable benefits which can include educational assistance, health insurance, medical reimbursement programs, life insurance, disability benefits, long-term care insurance, etc.
- There are 28 distribution cooperatives in Kansas and more than 900 in the country. Electric cooperative personnel has developed specialized skills that are easily transferrable to another cooperative here in Kansas or across the country.
Therefore, cooperatives consider the local labor market as well as annual compensation studies and other market data to compare compensation with similarly situated cooperatives on a state and national level. That helps the cooperative retain skilled personnel who could be recruited to higher-paying geographical areas and/or larger cooperatives that may have more economic resources.
In addition, this past year Kansas Corporation Commission staff have reviewed the executive salaries at four electric cooperatives as part of their jurisdiction in transmission rate filings and expressly stated that they find the salaries to be just and reasonable.
A safe, reliable, and competitively priced electric supply is key to our quality of life and our economic opportunity. FreeState Electric Cooperative, Inc. takes that responsibility seriously and it requires skilled and dedicated staff throughout the organization to achieve that goal and our mission.
If you have any questions, please contact your Cooperative CEO/General Manager or Executive Staff at any time.
Board of Trustee Meetings
Board meetings are typically held on the fourth Wednesday of each month in Lawrence.
- Wednesday, February 26, 2020
- Wednesday, March 25, 2020
- ANNUAL MEETING, Tuesday, April 21, 2020
- Tuesday, May 19, 2020
- Wednesday, June 24, 2020
- Wednesday, July 22, 2020
- Wednesday, August 26, 2020
- Wednesday, September 23, 2020
- Wednesday, October 28, 2020
- Tuesday, November 24, 2020
- Tuesday, December 22, 2020
Kansas Electric Power Cooperatives (McLouth District)
KEPCo's power supply resources consist of: 70 MW of owned generation from the Wolf Creek Generating Station; 30 MW of owned generation from the Iatan 2 Generating Plant; 20 MW of peaking power from the Sharpe Generating Station located in Coffey County; 1 MW of solar power from the Prairie Sky Solar Farm located in Butler County; hydropower purchases of 100 MW from the Southwestern Power Administration; hydropower purchases of 13 MW from the Western Area Power Administration; and partial requirement power purchases from regional utilities.
KEPCo is proud of the fact that over 50% of its energy resource mix does not emit any greenhouse gases.
Evergy (Topeka District)
Nearly half of the power we provide to homes and businesses are now emissions-free while continually exploring ways to broaden our sustainability strategy and comply with renewable energy mandates. Our diverse energy mix results in affordable, reliable electricity generation.
Some of our other energy sources include: gas, fuel oil, wind, solar, nuclear, biogas and hydro. Utilizing these other energy sources results in a balanced portfolio that's responsive to fuel prices, environmental issues, regulatory initiatives and other factors.
It is the Cooperative's policy to allow member attendance and observation of Board meetings. It is in their official meetings that the Board most often exercises the cooperative's powers through Board action. This Policy establishes appropriate procedures relating to member attendance and observation of Board meetings.
Click here to read the entire policy.
Click here to download the appropriate form.
Directions on submission are located in the full policy.
Board members will receive $500 for participating in the monthly trustee meeting of the Cooperative. The president will receive an additional $50 and other officers will receive an additional $25 per month.
Participation in any special meeting or event lasting one-half day will result in a $200 compensation. Participation in a special meeting or event lasting one full day receives $400.
Yes. Nominating committee members need to be:
- Engaged in the cooperative and the processes
- Willing to carry out the necessities of the duty
- Willing to be available to assist in certification of votes
Each trustee shall appoint one nominating committee member. The nominating committee member must also be:
- Member in good standing
- Be a member of FreeState (name must be on the account)
- Willing to actively communicate with cooperative staff
- Competent and willing to learn and assist in making the process better
- Willing to recruit candidates
A petition must contain the printed names, addresses, and telephone numbers, and original dated signatures signed within sixty days of the first signature, of at least 2 percent in the district.
- East – 7,232 members equal 145 signatures as of May 14, 2019.
- East – 7,893 members equal 158 signatures as of May 14, 2019.
A Trustee or Trustee candidate must comply with FreeState bylaws. To become and remain a Trustee, a Person must comply with the following general qualifications (“General Trustee Qualifications”):
- be an individual;
- have the capacity to enter legally binding contracts;
- not have been previously removed or disqualified as a Trustee;
- while a Trustee, not be convicted of, or plead guilty to, a felony;
- except as otherwise provided by the Board for good cause, receive a Credentialed Cooperative Trustee designation, Trustee’s Certificate, or similar designation or certification from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association within three years of becoming a Trustee;
- comply with any other reasonable qualifications determined by the Board.
To become and remain a Trustee, an individual must comply with the following membership qualifications (“Membership Trustee Qualifications”):
- while a Trustee and during the one year immediately before becoming a Trustee:
- for at least six months each calendar year reside and use electric energy Provided by the Cooperative, at a Location within the Trustee District from which the Trustee is nominated.
- while a Trustee, and before becoming a Trustee be authorized by an Entity Member that while a Trustee and during the one year immediately before becoming a Trustee:
- Occupies and Uses electric energy Provided by the Cooperative at a Location within the Trustee District from which the Trustee is nominated or elected.
After being elected, designated, or appointed, if a Trustee does not comply with all General Trustee Qualifications, Membership Trustee Qualifications, and Independence Trustee Qualifications (collectively, “Trustee Qualifications”) existing when the Trustee was elected, or appointed, then, except as otherwise provided by the Board for good cause, the Board by two-thirds vote may disqualify the Trustee and the individual is no longer a Trustee if:
- the Board notifies the Trustee in writing or Electronically of the basis for, and provides the Trustee an opportunity to comment regarding, the Board’s proposed disqualification; and
- within 30 days after the Board notifies the Trustee of the proposed disqualification, the Trustee neither complies with nor meets the Trustee Qualification.
- if a majority of Trustees authorized by these Bylaws comply with the Trustee Qualifications and approves a Board action, then the failure of a Trustee to comply with the Trustee Qualifications does not affect the Board action.
In 2018, incumbent Harlan Hunt was challenged by Michael McNary. Hunt won that election. In 2017, Matthew Turecek defeated incumbent Mark Gratny.
Matt Turecek is the newest trustee in the past five years.
Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the 2020 annual meeting event was canceled and voting was 100% mail-in ballot. The voting response turnout was 14%
The board will meet at the date, time, and location determined by the board except as otherwise provided in the bylaws. The Board may hold regular board meetings without notice.
The annual meeting is communicated by the official publication of the Cooperative (Kansas Country Living), the cooperative website, and other platforms of communication such as, but not limited to (advertising, social media, bill stuffers, postings).
The board determines the date, time, and location of a Special Member Meeting. Unless the Board determines otherwise, the President or the President’s designee presides over
the Special Member Meeting. If the Cooperative does not notify Members of a Special Member Meeting within 30 days of receiving a Member Demand, then a Member signing the Member Demand may: (1) set a reasonable time, place, and location for the Special Member Meeting; and (2) notify Members of the Special Member Meeting.
- Kansas Electric Cooperatives Annual Meeting, January 25 – 28, 2018 in Topeka. Not all trustees attended.
- Kansas Electric Cooperatives Summer Meeting, August 4-6, 2018 in Overland Park. Not all trustees attended.
- NRECA Annual Meeting, February 22 – 28, 2018 in Orlando. No trustee attended.
Most education opportunities were canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19.
Is the totality of your CEO’s salary covered by an NRECA pension plan? If not, is a portion covered by a supplemental pension plan for the amount that exceeds the NRECA’s retirement and security plan maximum set by IRS regulations? Is the base amount payable as a lump sum, an annuity, or both? Is the supplement amount payable as a lump sum, an annuity, or both?
The CEO salary is only covered to the maximum allowed by the RS Plan which is $280,000. He is not provided with any supplemental pension plan for the amount of his salary that exceeds this maximum. The base amount is payable as a lump sum, annuity, or both.
- KEPCo alternate trustee (FreeState Board Member) is paid $461 per meeting only if they attend the meeting. This is paid directly to the co-op trustee from KEPCo.
- KEC Representative is paid $400 per meeting by FreeState. This is paid to the representative from FreeState, and then FEC is partially reimbursed from the statewide organization.
Yes. In 2018, FreeState retired $800,000 in capital credits, as well as $400,000 in consolidation savings adjustment, and East District members received a margin stabilization adjustment of $300,000 from power supplier, KEPCo.
The approximate amount spent towards 2018 Trustee training was $14,000. This includes the costs of event registration, education courses, as well as special meeting per diems for attending. The actual costs of conferences, not counting travel expenses, is about $5,000
Does FreeState offer paid health insurance to its current board members? No.
Does FreeState offer paid health insurance to its retired board members? No.
Is paid health insurance offered to the families of either current or retired board members? No.
Did the co-op pay per diem for any other local co-op activities authorized by the board, aside from co-op board or committee meetings? No.