Hee resigns from the KIUC governing board

Randall “Randy” Hee, manager of Kauai Power Partners power plant at Kapaia, is resigning from the board of directors of the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative.

Hee, elected to a two-year term after finishing in the second third of successful candidates in the February KIUC board election, cited ethical and personal conflicts associated with serving on the board and also serving as manager of the Kauai Power Partners’ power plant.

KIUC is negotiating to purchase the power plant from Dominion Resources of Virginia, parent company of plant owner and operator Pur Energy. Sale prices ranging from $40 million to $54 million have been reported.

“The ethical issues became harder to manage,” said Hee, who in his professional capacity recused himself from, and was prohibited from participating in, closed-door board discussions regarding power-plant-purchase negotiations.

But his letter of resignation, dated Friday, Aug. 1, was not tendered without mixed emotions, he said.

While he acknowledged that the resignation was in the best interest of all involved parties, in a way he is “sorry” to have to resign because fellow co-op members voted him into his two-year term.

His short time on the board proved a “good learning process” for him, and he feels his knowledge of power-generation on Kaua‘i was of value to the rest of the board, too.

But with the power-plant transaction inching toward a final reality, and his realization that in the transitional time period he’d have to work even more closely with KIUC employees, the decision had to be made, Hee said.

Assuming he were to become a KIUC employee as a result of KIUC successfully purchasing the power plant (and the state Public Utilities Commission ultimately approving the sale), Hee would be precluded by KIUC bylaws from serving as a director on two counts.

The bylaws state that “no member of the Board of Directors may be a paid employee of the Association (KIUC), and no Director may become a paid employee of the Association for a period of one (1) year after such Director’s Directorship has terminated.”

Hee’s resignation is being considered by the other members of the KIUC board at a meeting set for Monday, Aug. 18.

Also resigning is John Bandmann. His resignation was accepted by the other eight members of the board.

On the agenda at that meeting August 18 is an item, “Appointments to fill Director vacancies,” where board members intend to exercise their right to appoint successors for Bandmann and Hee.

Bandmann could not be reached for comment Friday. Board chair Gregg Gardiner and vice chair Dennis Esaki are both in the Philippines on a co-op, fact-finding mission, and also were unavailable for comment.

Under the KIUC bylaws, board vacancies may be filled by a simple majority vote of the board. It may also move existing board members into vacated seats which have longer terms than those currently occupied by the moving board members.

For example, Bandmann was elected earlier this year to a three-year term as one of the top three vote-getters in the first KIUC board election. By a majority vote, the remainder of the board could move, for instance, Gardiner, into Bandmann’s vacated three-year seat.

Gardiner, one of the members of the organizing board guiding KIUC’s purchase of Kauai Electric from investor-owned Citizens Communications of Connecticut, was elected to a one-year term in the February KIUC board election.

Business Editor Paul C. Curtis can be reached at pcurtis@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 224).

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