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Two trustees of Beartooth Electric Cooperative who were targeted for recall have resigned.

Former trustees John Prinkki, a Carbon County commissioner from Roberts, and Joe Kern, of Absarokee, this week submitted a three-page resignation letter to Beartooth’s board of directors, which accepted the letter Wednesday.

Beartooth President Roxie Melton said, “We will add the replacement of the resigning trustees to the pressing business in front of the board at this time.”

The co-op also announced that it will consider appointing replacement trustees at its Jan. 31 meeting. Those interested in serving should send a letter to Beartooth at P.O. Box 1110, Red Lodge, MT 59068 by Jan. 27. The appointed trustees will have to run for election at the co-op’s annual meeting in September.

Prinkki and Kern said in the letter that they decided it was in the best interest of the co-op to resign.

They said they could not afford to hire attorneys and consultants to fight the allegations against them. They estimated that expense at $15,000. They said they also did not want to cause members the additional expense of a recall vote.

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Neither Prinkki nor Kern returned calls Wednesday seeking comment.

FixBEC, a group of co-op customers and members, gathered 330 signatures last year to recall Prinkki and Kern, alleging that they failed to meet their fiduciary responsibilities.

The group also said the two refused to conduct an independent analysis of the Highwood Generating Station before voting to authorize Southern Montana Electric Generation and Transmission Cooperative to double its plant debt limit from $150 million to $300 million.

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Contact Clair Johnson at cjohnson@billingsgazette.com or 657-1282.

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