Administration, transparency, and governance are more important and scrutinized topics today than ever before. Your electric cooperative is proud of its unique governance model. We strive to be a model of transparency while taking seriously our responsibility to keep the information of our members private and secure. Though often assumed to be a public entity, MTE is a private business that services a specific set of members.
Frequently Asked Questions
The cooperative’s members elect a Board of Directors to represent them in setting policy, approving the budget, and overseeing the strategic direction of the cooperative. Additional information on the election process can be found here. Directors have a fiduciary responsibility to the members, and they serve as the governing body of utility operations. Additionally, The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) serves as the cooperative’s regulator.
The CEO is the employee of the board and serves to execute the policies of the cooperative. As the leader of the organization, he or she employs a team to perform the purpose, vision, and mission of the cooperative.
The staff and board of the cooperative exist to serve the members. The members are the consumers of the cooperative’s product – electricity – but they also receive the other benefits of the cooperative business model. These benefits, which are summed up in the Seven Cooperative Principles, include democratic control, education and training, and community impact.
As a democratically-run, member-owned cooperative, all issues are open for discussion with our membership. MTE is committed to operating transparently. Members have the opportunity to engage with MTE leadership to express any concerns in multiple venues, ranging from online community forums and our annual meeting to walking in the office or picking up the phone.
For members wishing to address the board, there is a process to go through. Our staff can assist you with making this request. In the spirit of member satisfaction, MTE management will work to address member concerns before they rise to a level that would require board intervention. The intent is that if the matter should then rise to the board level, all parties will be informed and better prepared to deal with the matter.
Board members do not receive a salary, but they are compensated for their time, effort, and expenses. Serving on the MTE Board of Directors requires a substantial commitment. These are not ceremonial positions characterized by minimal effort, but rather board directors are required to review, analyze, train, and engage. As representatives of the membership, they set policy and approve multi-million-dollar decisions. Their board duties require numerous hours of attention and engagement per month.
Though MTE is a private company, the cooperative annually submits a publicly available tax form that shows compensation, as well as other important financial information about the cooperative. It is called the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) Form 990. In addition to being publicly available for inspection at our corporate office, various online sites catalog 990s, one of which is GuideStar.org
Part VII of Form 990 lists compensation for current and former directors and key employees. Part VII, Column D, lists W2 income for employees and regular monthly payments for directors. (It may also include taxable lump-sum payouts of retirement plans for retiring employees.) Part VII, Column F, lists other benefits such as insurance and retirement benefits, which are not take-home pay. Also included here is the annual change in the value of retirement accounts. For example, on a year when the stock market performs well, or interest rates change, this number can be significant; however, this does not represent money paid to the employee, but rather a change in the value of their retirement account for the year.
The board members are not employees of the cooperative, but they are compensated for a measure of their time and expense. Their compensation is set using thorough market analysis and data. One subset of that data is the compensation of board directors at the 15 largest electric cooperatives in the United States. While MTE is the second-largest cooperative in the nation, board compensation is in the lower third of those 15.
The role of President/CEO of Middle Tennessee Electric is one of the most critical jobs in this area because MTE is responsible for providing electric power to more than 650,000 people, vital public infrastructure, and businesses ranging to the largest automobile manufacturing plant in North America. The CEO’s salary is set using thorough market analysis and data. Local, regional, and national data is used to ensure the cooperative is able to provide competitive compensation to attract and retain a leader of the highest caliber. One subset of that data is the salaries of the CEOs at the 15 largest electric cooperatives in the United States. While MTEMC is the second-largest cooperative in the nation, our CEO’s salary is in the lower half of those 15.
MTE has made data-driven and market-based compensation a priority. A standardized employment and compensation process specifically identifies the fair market value of each position in order to promote equity and eliminate potential bias in employee compensation. Every employee of MTE is rewarded by and subject to this compensation process. The intent of many organizations, and certainly MTE, is to attract and retain high-quality employees committed to serving the membership at a high level.
To determine the fair market value for each position, all positions are analyzed annually, utilizing a scientific process performed by both in-house staff and third-party consultants. This process includes analyses using an algorithm with five separate factors, including compensation data gathered locally, regionally, and nationally in both the energy industry and outside industry segments for similarly-sized organizations. Based upon these industry salary surveys and compensation studies, our employees and board directors are compensated within market-based competitive ranges.
MTEMC.com is a rich resource of information ranging from the cooperative’s Bylaws to account information behind a user’s specific login. Forms, facts, and figures ranging from annual data to energy-saving tips are included throughout the site. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, always feel free to contact us online, by phone, or in-person.