A candidate running for a seat on the La Plata Electric Association board has been deemed eligible to compete in the election at least until his residency is reviewed at the end of the month.
The co-op’s Election Supervisory Committee recently established Jack Turner is eligible through April, when his residency will be reviewed again, according to a written report from LPEA’s attorney dated April 12. Turner, an incumbent, is running against Sarah Ferrell to represent northern and eastern La Plata County on the LPEA board.
“I’m just relieved,” Turner said.
Turner’s residency was under review for a second time because his house was listed for rent available May 1. He said the listing came as a surprise to him; however, he has since found another rental home and plans to provide the committee with proof of his membership in the co-op at the end of the month. Candidates for LPEA are required to purchase power from the co-op and live in the district they hope to represent.
If Turner can’t prove he has found a new home in his district and is purchasing electricity, he would be deemed ineligible for the election, and his opponent would be appointed to the board.
Turner said he considers the residency questions “cleared up” and hopes the election can now focus on issues.
“That was a distraction,” he said.
It’s the second time Turner’s residency has been reviewed by LPEA’s Election Supervisory Committee, a board of residents from each LPEA district.
The election committee first reviewed and confirmed Turner’s residency in March because his membership in LPEA briefly lapsed in 2018, said Ron Meier, manager of engineering and member relations.
The review found Turner’s roommate had changed the electricity account for the home out of Turner’s name, Meier said.
“There was a miscommunication when Jack took on a roommate,” Meier previously told The Durango Herald.
Questions about Turner’s residency have circulated among members since his wife moved to Denver.
Turner confirmed in October that his wife had moved, but he planned to maintain his residency in La Plata County.
Voting in LPEA’s election has started, and ballots can be returned by mail. The last opportunity to return a ballot will be during the co-op’s annual meeting at 5 p.m. May 2 at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College. Ballots will not be accepted after 6:30 p.m.