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Credit union members retain board

Challenger and credit union critic Steve Knebel fails to sway voters


by: SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: ROBIN JOHNSON - Steve Knebel (right), speaks before St. Helens Community Federal Credit Union members at an annual board meeting. Knebel petitioned to run for a position on the credit union's board, but was defeated by incumbents. He recently dropped a lawsuit against the credit union.The St. Helens Community Federal Credit Union held its annual meeting Tuesday, July 24, wherein members voted to retain three of its seven board members. Four candidates ran for three positions.

Member and Rainier businessman Steve Knebel was the only candidate who wasn’t nominated by the credit union’s nominating committee. Instead, Knebel petitioned to run, but was not voted in.

Knebel said he believes he is the first candidate in the credit union’s history to petition to run on the board.

Knebel recently dropped a 14-month lawsuit against the credit union in which he alleged it violated federal credit union bylaws during a 2012 recall vote of its board members. Knebel pointed to documentation from the National Credit Union Administration, which has regulatory oversight of federal credit unions, that indicates the credit union was aware of the federal bylaws it violated.

Knebel said he is not disappointed with the loss, adding that he believes the credit union board will still need to change.

“They made some bad decisions in the past and I think that going forward, they will recognize they will have to fall in line with NCUA regulations.”

Knebel also said he is potentially too busy to serve on the board anyway.

“As busy as I am, it will probably work out best for all of us. I’m confident they’re a good bunch of people and have nothing but best interest of credit union at heart,” he said, adding, “I think I woke them up.”

Incumbents David Graham, Richard Louie and Amanda Komp were elected to remain on the board and were selected as candidates by a nomination committee of the credit union. That committee consisted of board of directors member Steve Correll, board Chairman Tom Tussing and Supervisory Committee Chairman Scott Bremmer.

In a Wednesday press release, Tussing said the election results reflect recent successes of the credit union.

“Our leadership has a vision for growth and sustainability that is producing results,” Tussing said. “Richard, David and Amanda have served varying lengths of time, but each has played an important role recently in moving our credit union forward. We’re thrilled they will continue serving our members.”

All four candidates were given a chance to speak before final votes were cast at the meeting. Knebel chose not to discuss his legal battle with the credit union.

Knebel said at the meeting that in the credit union’s last two board elections, not one incumbent had been retained, which included two board chairs. He indicated the credit union didn’t send a broad enough message to members about the election prior to the nomination.

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