PEC to decide fate of board member after Facebook post

Pedernales Electric Cooperative officials will decide the fate of a co-op board member who posted violent and racist comments on his personal Facebook account late last month.

According to reports, James Oakley, vice president of the Pedernales Electric Co-op board, posted a comment on an article on Facebook in reference to a man accused of killing San Antonio police detective Benjamin Marconi last month.

Oakley commented on the article that it was “time for a tree and a rope.”

In a co-op board meeting Nov. 30, the board discussed Oakley’s recent misconduct and considered whether to take any action against him.

“PEC has received and considered the complaint regarding Director Oakley’s social media comment. A committee of board members has been formed to consider all allowable action, per the cooperative’s bylaws,” according to a statement issued by the co-op. “PEC does not condone any type of offensive language. Consistent with our cooperative values, we proudly welcome and serve all members.”

Oakley was in attendance at the meeting and issued his own apology for his “curt and rash” comments.

Oakley removed the post, saying that as soon as he was made aware it was offensive he deleted it.

Many of the co-op board members and fellow Pedernales employees who were also in attendance at Wednesday’s meeting were calling for Oakley’s resignation.

The board has accepted the complaint brought forward against Oakley by fellow board member Cristi Clement and a meeting has been set for December 7. In this meeting a committee consisting of board president Emily Pataki, board secretary/treasurer Paul Graf and director Kathryn Scanlon will present their findings and make recommendations to the board.

If the board decides on disciplinary recommendations, those can be mandated on the December court date. If there is a recommendation for removal, that request will involve a 30-day process, and the earliest a decision could be made will be Jan. 17.

Oakley, who has served on the PEC board since 2013, is a Burnet County judge, presiding over Burnet County’s five-member commissioner’s court. Oakley is also on the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s executive committee and the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement’s board.

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