Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The SEU: Accountable to Whom?

The Senate Energy & Transit Committee meets today at 3:00 PM. The single item on the agenda is Senate Bill 228, which would amend Title 29 to change the way Delaware's fledgling Sustainable Energy Utility (SEU) would be governed.
The SEU was established to provide financing for homeowners and small business owners to invest in energy conservation and generation technologies like placing solar panels on your roof. It's a great idea.
Unfortunately, SB 228 would overhaul the governance of the SEU by establishing a new board of directors and making that board self-perpetuating:
The SEU Board of Directors shall consist of eleven members. The members of the SEU Board of Directors shall be appointed by the existing SEU Oversight Board, whose members shall continue to serve until the SEU Board of Directors has been appointed and the Board constituted.
...
Selection of members of the Board shall occur by a two-thirds vote of the existing Board members. Board members will be recommended by a three-person Selection Committee appointed by the Board.
There is a principle that holds in the private, public and non-profit sectors that any corporate entity is accountable to its funders. In government, elected legislative bodies and executives pass budgets and incur debt. Corporate boards are elected by shareholders. The boards of non-profit entities generally represent members or those who donate to the organizations.
The one common thread among failures and scandals in government authorities, non-profit organizations and corporations is the breakdown of accountability. SB 228 would set the SEU up for failure by making its board accountable to no one.
I am hearing of discomfort among legislators about SB 228, and would expect to see one or more amendments offered to establish the proper degree of accountability to this important new agency.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A bad bill that should be flushed down the toilet with its sponsors.

5:40 PM, April 09, 2008  

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