Forty-eight candidates are seeking nine seats on the Tri-County Electric Cooperative Board following August's unprecedented vote to remove all of the directors who were serving at the time.
The election to fill the vacated directors' seats will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17, during a special member meeting.
The election follows widespread dissatisfaction with the prior board’s compensation. Some board members resigned after reports revealed they were paid an average of $52,000 in 2016, which is triple the national average, to attend meetings.
While their pay of $450 per meeting is about average, they held many more meetings than required by law, with some lasting only 15 to 30 minutes.
The board members also enjoyed expensive dinners, Christmas bonuses normally reserved for employees and retirement plans.
The co-op’s members voted to remove the remaining directors in August, prompting them to resign.
Some Tri-County employees allege that some former directors used their influence to have co-op employees clear trees and debris from private property owned by friends and install electric lines to power irrigation equipment on large farms.
The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating the allegations.
The candidates and the district seat they are running for are as follows:
- LaShaun Brawley - Brawley has served as a caterer, business operator and insurance sales agent.
A resident of Richland County, she says her administrative and financial background would be an asset to the Tri-County board. She noted that as a business operator, she has made financial, managerial and human resource decisions.
- Ida L. Dixon - Dixon currently serves as a senior special agent with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division in alcohol licensing.
Dixon has worked with SLED since 1991 in a number of capacities including as a National Crime Information Classes instructor and special crime agent.
A Hopkins resident, she graduated from Lower Richland High School and received her bachelor's degree from Morris College in Sumter.
- Brenda J. Miller - Miller has worked in social services and as a school-to-work advisor in Richland School District 1.
An Eastover native, she is a 1968 graduate of Webber High School, going on to earn her undergraduate degree in sociology from Benedict College in Columbia and her master's in rehabilitation counseling from South Carolina State University.
Miller is a former caseworker with the Richland County Department of Social Services; has worked with the Columbia Urban League Inc. as a women's coordinator and has been a life underwriter with Jefferson Pilot Insurance Co.
- Albert Anderson - Anderson is the owner of Al's Small Engine Repair
A Richland County native, he was educated in Richland County public schools and attended Midlands Technical College. He has received certifications in engine repair.
A Vietnam veteran, Anderson retired from Shaw (formerly Honeywell) after 35 years. He is a pastor at Highway Christian Church in Eastover.
- Lynda Kuntz - Kuntz is a retired librarian with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
She attended public schools in Oklahoma and graduated from Cameron College in Lawton, Oklahoma with a bachelor's degree.
Kuntz received her master's in library science from Oklahoma University in 1973 and a master's in business administration from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia in 1980.
She served as the NOAA systems librarian in Silver Spring, Maryland from 1988 to 1995. She has also served as a librarian in a number of other military agencies.
- Barbara Weston - Weston is a 35-year retired educator who currently works as an education consultant with the South Carolina Department of Education.
An Eastover native, she graduated from South Carolina State University in 1976 with a bachelor's degree. She earned a master's in education from Cambridge College in 1998, and is a doctoral candidate at Nova Southeastern University.
Weston has taught English, speech and drama for about 24 years in Richland County public schools.
She has also served on a number of state educational boards.
- Cheryl English - English is an associate minister at Mount Moriah Baptist Church in Hopkins and is currently employed with the South Carolina Developmental Disabilities Council as a social worker.
A graduate of Coker College with a bachelor's in sociology and a minor in business administration with a concentration in criminology, English received her master's degree in social work from the University of South Carolina.
She has worked with the Department of Mental Health in Calhoun County as well as with the Calhoun County School District.
- Kim Gilmore - Gilmore is a nurse and currently works as the secretary of the Mental Health America Board.
She entered nursing about 30 years ago when she received her diploma as a prepared registered nurse. Gilmore went on to receive her master's degree in community health nursing and adult nurse practitioner. She obtained a national certification in both.
- A. Jewel Moore - Moore is owner/operator of Jewels Beauty Salon.
Moore retired from Richland One School District, where she served in a number of capacities including as an instructional assistant and project manager for the district's accelerated math and reading program.
She received a teaching technology certificate from Columbia College in 2002 and credentials in child development from Midlands Technical College in 2000-2001.
- Dachaundra Mosley - Mosley is a senior accountant with Robert Eaves CPA and adjunct accounting professor with Limestone College's Columbia campus.
A Hopkins native, she has a master's degree in accounting and a master's in business administration in finance from Strayer University.
Mosley has also completed certificate studies at Midlands Technical College with a major in project management.
- David L. Scott - Scott is a retired sergeant major with the South Carolina Army National Guard.
A native of Eastover, he graduated from Columbia Commercial College with a bachelor's degree. He went on to receive his business administration degree from Georgia Technical College.
Scott served in the military for 34 years with about 13 years in the U.S. Army and 14 years in the South Carolina National Guard. He served in Vietnam and also saw action in Desert Storm.
- Valerie S. Washington - Washington has worked at International Paper in Eastover as a planner for the past 29 years.
She is a graduate of South Carolina State University with a degree in computer science and a minor in math.
Washington is currently involved in a number of activities at Mt. Nebo Baptist Church including chairwoman over the youth ministry and women's ministry trustee.
- George Wilson - A former state representative, Wilson currently serves as the special services general manager with the Richland County Department of Public Works.
A native of Gadsden, he attended public schools in Eastover. Wilson received a bachelor's degree in physical education and biology from Benedict College.
Following college, he worked at the South Carolina Department of Mental Health, where he served as recreation director for the Hospital Improvement Project, which helped mental health patients find housing and jobs.
Wilson served as S.C. House District 70 representative from 1974 to 1978 as a Democrat.
- Lindsey Burkhart - Burkhart owns the Sandy Run real estate agency, Burkhart Properties, with her husband.
She received her bachelor's in business administration from the University of South Carolina in 2005 and her master's degree from the Savannah College of Art and Design.
Before earning her real estate license, Burkhart managed and operated Joseph Tomlinson Associates Allstate in Cayce for six years.
- Gary Geiger - Geiger is owner and president of Country Clear Inc., a bottled water business.
He attended Calhoun Academy before going on to receive his bachelor's degree in accounting from Charleston Southern University with a minor in economics.
Since 2000, Geiger has owned Country Clear Inc., where he oversees and leads the daily operations while managing two locations and 10 employees.
He is also co-owner of Geiger Enterprises and Buy the Yard Mulch.
- Carl Lybrand - Lybrand is a retired engineer with more than 40 years of manufacturing experience.
He graduated from Swansea High School and went on to receive his associate degree in mechanical engineering from Midlands Technical College in Columbia in 1976.
He worked at Devro Inc. in Swansea for about 33 years.
Lybrand also worked at Westinghouse Nuclear Fuel in Columbia as a conversion operator and at Columbia's T PAC in research and development.
- Bradley Rucker - Rucker is owner of Midlands Flooring Company in Swansea.
A graduate of Swansea High School, he received a bachelor's degree in geography from the University of South Carolina in 2007.
Rucker then became the owner of Midlands Flooring. He has served as a volunteer firefighter for the past five years.
- Mel White - White is a retired power generation employee.
He has more than 30 years of experience in operating high voltage power generation equipment. He has worked in this field in South Carolina, Georgia and California.
White has worked both in budgetary, maintenance and safety in the electric industry.
- Scott Bolt - Bolt has been a banker and small business owner.
He graduated from Orangburg-Calhoun Technical College with an associate degree in business accounting. He went on to graduate from Clemson University with a bachelor's in agricultural and applied economics and a master's in applied economics and statistics.
Bolt has worked as an operations manager for Mixon Warehousing Center, research assistant with Clemson University and branch manager with AgSouth Farm Credit.
- Jill Crim - Crim currently owns and runs Four C Farm with her husband, Gene.
A resident of St. Matthews, she served in the United States Air Force as a communication specialist in the 2047th Division. She was honorably discharged from the Air Force in 1969.
Crim worked at Carolina Eastman in Calhoun County for 30 years in a number of positions.
She was then employed at Precision Plumbing of Sandy Run for 11 years as an assistant officer manager.
- Randy Eden - Eden has owned and operated three businesses over the years in bookkeeping, purchasing, customer service and sales.
- George Gibbes - Gibbes is the owner of Gibbes Ford of Orangeburg.
Born and reared in Columbia, Gibbes' family moved to St. Matthews in 1991.
A graduate of Hammond School, he attended the University of South Carolina.
As a third-generation automobile dealer, Gibbes purchased the family interest in the Gibbes Volkswagen and Mazda dealership in 1987.
Under his leadership, Gibbes Mazda/VW employed more 110 people and produced annual revenue of more than $40 million in the 1990s.
- David Lawson - Lawson has worked as an auditor and insurance agent.
Born and reared in Orangeburg County, he graduated from Orangeburg High School and from the University of South Carolina in business administration.
A St. Matthews resident, Lawson worked for 10 years at a CPA firm, where his duties included auditing various businesses, banks and governmental agencies as well as preparing financial statements and tax returns.
He went go on to work with Allstate as an insurance agent and independent contractor. Lawson retired from Allstate in 2002.
- Breta Ann Ruple Rheney - Rheney is a certified public accountant and currently works with Riverbanks Zoo and Garden as chief financial officer.
A native of Bowman and Orangeburg, with roots in Elloree, Rheney graduated from the University of South Carolina with a bachelor's degree in business administration with an emphasis in accounting.
She has worked as a CPA for more than 34 years, beginning her professional career performing auditing and tax services for a number of firms including utility companies.
- Don A. Rickenbaker Sr. - Rickenbaker is a certified public accountant in St. Matthews
He graduated from the University of South Carolina with a bachelor's degree in business administration.
Rickenbaker has worked as a CPA since 1983 and has experience with financial accounting and auditing of South Carolina cooperatives.
He is a former employee of Tri-County Electric and also has served as a part-time magistrate for Calhoun County since 2005.
- Michael Perry "Mike" Shirer - Shirer is a retired farmer and real estate agent.
A graduate of Wade Hampton Academy, he earned his associate degree in field crop and animal science in 1975.
Shirer began farming at a young age with his father, Jesse, becoming a partner in J.D. Shirer & Sons Farms in 1973 producing row crops, livestock and thoroughbred horses.
He became the owner of the farm before eventually retiring from farming.
Shirer became a licensed realtor in 2000. He has served on numerous county and state agricultural boards.
- Joe Strickland Jr. - Strickland is currently a Columbia firefighter, where he has achieved the rank of captain.
A lifelong resident of St. Matthews, he is a 2000 graduate of the University of South Carolina with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice.
While in college, Strickland worked as a line crew helper during the summer with Tri-County Electric Cooperative.
He is also a volunteer firefighter with the St. Matthews Fire Department.
- Steve Biber - Biber is a firefighter with the City of Columbia.
A graduate of Ashland University with a bachelor's in criminal justice, he is currently a fire engineer with the Columbia Fire Department, where he has served for the past 10 years. He is also a South Carolina Fire Academy safety instructor.
Prior to joining the Columbia Fire Department, Biber served as public safety officer with the Cayce Police Department.
- Joseph V. "Buzz" Braxton II - Braxton is operations manager for Carolina Seal & Stripe LLC.
He was educated in the Cameron public schools and went on to graduate with a business degree from Palmer College in Columbia.
Braxton later joined the family business, Braxton Construction Company Inc., becoming president of the company before it closed.
- Moses Brown - Brown is currently the director of Data Management and Reporting with the South Carolina Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education.
He earned his bachelor's degree in computer science from South Carolina State University in 1987.
Brown went on to receive a master's degree from Webster University in computer resources and information management in 2002 as well as a certificate of graduate study in higher education leadership from the University of South Carolina in 2007.
He served in the U.S. Army Reserves for more than 27 years.
- Willie Brown - Brown is a full-time employee with the South Carolina Army National Guard, where he has served for more than 30 years.
He currently serves with the SCANG as a first sergeant and supervisor at McEntire Joint National Air Base.
Brown is a licensed hair stylist, massage therapist and home inspector.
He graduated with a degree in culinary arts from the University of South Carolina.
- Dr. Saundra H. Glover - Glover is a retired professor in the Department of Health Services Policy and Management at the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina-Columbia.
She received her bachelor's degree in accounting from South Carolina State University and then went on to get her master's degree in business administration from the University of South Carolina's Moore School of Business. Glover earned her doctorate from the USC Moore School of Business in management and organizational behavior.
Currently, she serves as the USC Department of Health Services Policy graduate director of students on a part-time basis.
Glover has served at the college level as a professor and associate dean. She is also owner and operator of several Columbia-area McDonald's franchises. She has also worked as a banking loan officer, branch manager and assistant vice president and as a business consultant.
- James Haggwood - Haggwood is the owner of Tri-County Heating and Cooling LLC.
A 1988 graduate of Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School, Haggwood enlisted in the U.S. Army and entered aviation school in Virginia.
When he left the Army, he joined the South Carolina National Guard, where he served an additional three years.
In addition to being a small business owner, Haggwood is a member of the Caw Caw Fire Department, where he is currently a captain.
- Genevieve Jones - Jones works as an assistant branch supervisor with the St. Matthews branch of the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles.
A native of St. Matthews, she graduated from Calhoun County High School in 1984.
Jones earned her business associate degree from Columbia Junior College in Columbiaand a bachelor's degree in sociology/criminal justice administration from Claflin University in May 2005.
She is owner of a home-based business, Gen4travels, and certified travel agent.
- Mike Pooser - Pooser is the owner of Pooser's BP Service Center in Orangeburg.
An Orangeburg native, he graduated from Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School and then obtained his associate degree in mechanical engineering from Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College.
Pooser has served on a number of boards including the Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce, the Orangeburg County Ambulance Committee, the RMC Foundation Advisory Council and the Orangeburg County Council on Aging.
- William T. Robinson - Robinson is currently employed at The SEFA Group as executive director of SEFA Industrial Solutions.
He graduated from Clemson University with both bachelor's and master's degrees in engineering. He went on to receive his master's in business administration from Charleston Southern University.
Robinson is a registered professional engineer in South Carolina and has 24 years of electric utility experience.
- Tris Waystack - Waystack is a cattle farmer and owner of Old South Materials sand mine.
He graduated from Calhoun Academy and received an associate degree in forestry from Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College.
- Julian Jay Etheredge Jr. - Etheredge is a manager of medical offices in Myrtle Beach and Sumter.
He received his licensed practical nursing degree in 2008 from Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College and his bachelor's degree in health care administration from California Coast University.
Etheredge has worked for Davita Dialysis for nine years, where he has managed offices for the past three years.
- Willie E. Jeffries - Jeffries is a retired South Carolina State University head football coach
A native of Union, he received his bachelor's in civil engineering and a master's degree in guidance and counseling from South Carolina State University.
Jeffries coached the S.C. State Bulldogs for 19 years, where he won almost 60 percent of his games - making him the winningest coach in the 107-year history of SCSU.
He has received numerous honors and awards including the Order of Silver Crescent, the Palmetto State's highest award for outstanding community service, and the Order of the Palmetto, the state's highest civilian award.
Jeffries currently serves as a board member of the S.C. State Ports Authority.
- Ronald Johnson - Johnson is a retired law enforcement officer with the Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office.
A native of Elloree, he graduated from the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy in Columbia in 2005 and currently attends Claflin University, where he is pursuing a degree in sociology and criminal justice.
Johnson has served in law enforcement for 18 years.
He is the previous owner and operator of Southern Tank Transport. He is currently pastor of Faith and Victory Outreach Ministry.
- Chuck McKeowen - McKeowen is the owner of CM Poultry Farms LLC and co-manager of JJJ Farms, a row crop business in Four Holes.
He graduated from Hillcrest High School in Fountain Inn and later graduated from Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College with an associate degree in animal and plant science.
Upon graduation, McKeowen joined Haigler Farms in Cameron, where he assisted in operations for 31 years before establishing his own farming operations.
- Dyana E. Myers - Myers is owner and operator of J&D Outdoors, a commercial and residential landscaping business.
A native of Salisbury, North Carolina, she has lived in Elloree since 1989.
Myers graduated from Elloree High School and went onto receive her degree in radiologic technology.
She also serves as the secretary/treasurer of the Canebrake Property Owners Association.
- James "Jim" R. Dantzler - Dantlzer has served in maintenance and engineering at various manufacturing facilities
He graduated from Calhoun Academy in 1975 and went on to get his mechanical apprenticeship at Carolina Eastman Company.
Dantzler has 42 years of experience in maintenance and engineering including at International Paper, where he served as a reliability engineer.
He also serves as a trustee of the Elloree Heritage Museum and Cultural Center LLC.
- Marlaine Polin Reeves - Reeves currently works part-time at the Regional Medical Center as the Summer Enrichment Program coordinator for high school seniors. She is a retired public school teacher of 23 years.
Reeves is a 1982 graduate of the University of South Carolina. She went on to receive her master's degree at South Carolina State University,
She has served on a number of community boards including the Elloree Mentor Book Club, the Elloree Heritage Museum and Cultural Center, the Santee Cooper Home and Garden Club and Hope Lutheran Church Council.
- Howard Shuler - Shuler is the owner of H&G Enterprise Construction in Santee.
He is a graduate of Holly Hill High School and Clemson University, where he earned his bachelor's in agricultural engineering.
Shuler worked at Elloree's Building Supply Inc. for 30 years as a stock manager, store manager and owner.
A licensed plumber, he also serves as the president of the Elloree Trials Committee and has been a member of the Elloree Lions Club for 40 years.
- Kelly Larimer - Larimer is currently vice president/director of Kleinschmidt Associates, an engineering, regulatory and environmental consulting service to energy companies and government agencies.
She has more than 11 years in the utility industry, both as a manager in public energy and in utility consulting.
Larimer graduated from Central Washington University with a bachelor's degree in geography and land studies and received her master's in resources and environmental management, also from CWU.
Larimer has a number of professional affiliations with the energy and utility industry.
- Clint Myers - Myers is a retired law enforcement officer.
A native of Vance, he graduated from Columbia Commercial College and went on to serve four years in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Following his years of military service, Myers worked for the Orangeburg County Office of Public Utilities.
He went on to become a law enforcement officer with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and as an investigator and narcotics officer with the Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office.
- Jacqueline Shaw - Shaw is a retired Orangeburg County employee of 32 years as well as a member of the Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College Board.
A native of Vance, she worked with Estee Lauder in New York for five years before coming to Orangeburg.
Shaw worked as a benefits administrator for 22 years and certified risk manager for 10 years with Orangeburg County.