The following statement was issued by Hattie Lovedahl, General Manager, Highland County Water Company, Inc., in response to a media inquiry. A group identifying itself as a Highland County Water Company “Members Committee” has launched a campaign to elect two independent candidates to our Board of Directors and to change company bylaws for electing members of the Board. We applaud any qualified individual’s desire to serve Highland County Water’s 11,000+ members. We cooperated with the group’s request for information to assist with their due diligence on company financing and management information. However, we question the group’s true motive behind its drive to place its candidates on the Board. To our knowledge, the individuals leading this group have never attended a company Annual Member Meeting or regular Board of Directors Meeting. This apparent lack of interest and engagement also makes us question the group’s contention that term limits should be placed on members of the Board. While we’re always willing to consider change that will improve our board, we also think it’s important to acknowledge that experience and familiarity are important attributes that help make our company operate smoothly. Ultimately, the timing of this campaign gives us reason to believe this is a thinly veiled attempt to stack the board with individuals sympathetic to the union representing some of our employees in order to influence contract negotiations. Highland County Water Company is currently engaged in labor negotiations with Utility Workers Union of America 477-W, which represents 14 of our employees. The collective bargaining agreement with the local expired on August 15, 2019. The most recent negotiation was held in December. We agreed to another negotiation meeting set for the week of April 13, per the union’s request, after it rejected negotiation dates we offered in January, February and March. Union members continue to work under the terms of the old contract as we continue good faith negotiations. We are eager to negotiate a fair contract that puts our customers and the five counties we serve first. We are committed to negotiating a new contract in the most professional manner possible, while following all fair labor practices. Highland County Water Company is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to the highest level of customer service for our customers and the five counties we serve. Our management and Board members work hard and with full transparency to maintain a financially sound business, to meet all EPA requirements and to provide a quality work environment. Our web site, highlandcountywater.com, provides up-to-date information regarding key aspects of the company. Public participation and comments are encouraged at regular meetings of the Highland County Water Company Board of Directors, which meets on the third Monday of every month at 8:30 a.m. The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 16 in our main office. We welcome everyone to review the information on the web, attend our meeting, and form their own conclusions.