Beartooth Electric Cooperative manager Ron Roodell announced his resignation from the Red Lodge-based power provider Tuesday.
Board chairwoman Roxie Melton said Thursday that Roodell submitted his letter at the end of a closed board session to discuss litigation issues. The letter did not give a reason, but Roodell told the board he wanted to pursue other interests, she said.
The resignation is effective Feb. 29. Roodell, Melton said. Roodell has been the manager since December 2008. Roodell was unavailable for comment on Thursday.
Melton said Roodell's resignation "came out of the blue" and at a difficult time for the co-op, which is dealing with the financial challenges of the bankrupt Southern Montana Electric Generation and Transmission Cooperative. Beartooth is a member of Southern, a wholesale power supplier.
The board also has gone through a nearly complete turnover in the last year because of members' unhappiness with the organization's actions on the Southern board.
"Our tasks are daunting, but we have a resourceful board and strong committees that include extremely knowledgeable members," Melton said. "We know that our professional co-op employees will rise to the occasion and keep BEC on track serving our members," she said.
BEC will look to its state and national co-op associations for help in finding a new manager, Melton said.
The board also is in the process of replacing two board members who resigned recently after facing a recall election. Melton said the board has received applications from John Schatz, Laurie Beers and Richard Nolan. Nolan, of the Luther area, was active in a member group called FixBEC, which successfully campaigned for new board members.