Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 15.2. Counties, Cities and Towns
Chapter 54. Electric Authorities Act
7/30/2021

§ 15.2-5405. Certificate of incorporation or charter; addition and withdrawal of members; board of directors; indemnification of directors, officers or employees.

A. After adoption or approval of the ordinances or agreement providing for the creation of an authority, the articles of incorporation of the authority shall be filed with the State Corporation Commission. If the State Corporation Commission finds that the articles of incorporation conform to law, and the creation of such an authority is in the public interest, a certificate of incorporation or charter shall forthwith be issued, and thereupon the authority shall constitute a political subdivision of the Commonwealth and a body politic and corporate and shall be deemed to have been lawfully and properly created, established and authorized to exercise the powers granted under this chapter.

In any suit, action or proceeding involving the validity or enforcement of, or relating to, any contract or action of the authority, the authority, in the absence of establishing fraud in the premises, shall be conclusively deemed to have been established in accordance with the provisions of this chapter upon proof of the issuance of the aforesaid certificate by the State Corporation Commission. A copy of such certificate, duly certified by the State Corporation Commission, shall be admissible in evidence in any such suit, action or proceeding, and shall be conclusive evidence of the filing and contents thereof.

Notice of the issuance of such certificate by the State Corporation Commission shall be given to each of the member governmental units of the authority by the State Corporation Commission.

B. After the creation of an authority, any other governmental unit may become a member thereof upon application to such authority after the adoption of an ordinance by the governing body of the governmental unit authorizing such governmental unit to become a member of the authority, and with the unanimous consent of the members of the authority evidenced by ordinances of their respective governing bodies. Except for an authority created by a governmental unit exempt from the referendum requirement of § 15.2-5403, any governmental unit may withdraw from an authority; however, all contractual rights acquired and obligations incurred while a governmental unit was a member shall remain in full force and effect.

In the case of the joining of a new member governmental unit to an authority, or in the case of the withdrawal of an existing member governmental unit from an authority, the articles of incorporation of the authority shall be amended to evidence such joinder or withdrawal, as the case may be, and such amendment shall be filed with the State Corporation Commission. Thereupon, the State Corporation Commission shall issue a certificate of joinder or withdrawal, as the case may be, to which shall be attached a copy of the amendment to the articles of incorporation. The joining or withdrawal shall become effective upon the issuance of such certificate.

C. The powers of each authority created by the governing body of a single governmental unit shall be exercised by a board of five directors, or, at the option of the governing body of the particular governmental unit, a number of directors equal to the number of persons on the governing body of the governmental unit. The powers of each authority created by the governing bodies of two or more governmental units shall be exercised by a board of such number of directors specified in its articles of incorporation, which shall be not less than one member for each governmental unit and not less than a total of five directors. The directors of an authority shall be selected in the manner and for the terms provided by the ordinance of a single governmental unit, or the concurrent ordinances or agreement of two or more of the governmental units creating the authority. No director shall be appointed for a term of more than four years but a director may be reappointed and succeed himself or herself. Directors shall hold office until their successors have been appointed. When one or more additional governmental units join an existing authority, each of such joining governmental units shall appoint not less than one director of the authority.

The directors of the authority shall elect one of their number chairman of the authority, and shall elect a secretary and treasurer and such other officers as are deemed necessary who need not be directors of the authority. The offices of secretary and treasurer may be combined. A majority of the directors of the authority shall constitute a quorum, and the vote of a majority of the directors shall be necessary for any action taken by the authority. No vacancy in the board of directors of the authority shall impair the right of a quorum to exercise all the rights and perform all the duties of the authority. If a vacancy occurs by reason of the death, disqualification or resignation of a director, the governing body of the governmental unit which appointed such director shall appoint a successor to fill his unexpired term. In the event of a vacancy in the board of directors for any reason, a successor shall be appointed within six months of the date on which such vacancy occurred.

Whenever a governmental unit withdraws from an authority, the term of any director appointed to the board of directors from such governmental unit shall immediately terminate, and, if such termination results in less than five directors of the authority, additional directors shall be selected in the manner and for the terms provided by the ordinances or agreement creating the authority so as to comply with the requirements of this section. No elected official of a member governmental unit shall be a director of an authority. No person shall serve as a director unless he resides within the governmental unit which has appointed him. Directors shall receive such compensation as shall be fixed from time to time by resolution or resolutions of the governing body or bodies of the member governmental unit or units of the authority, and shall be reimbursed for any actual expenses necessarily incurred in the performance of their duties.

D. An authority may defend, indemnify against loss or liability and save harmless any of its directors, officers or employees whenever a claim or demand is made or threatened, or whenever proceeded against in any investigation or before any court, board, commission or other public body to defend or maintain his official position or a position taken in the course of the execution of his duties or because of any act or omission arising out of the performance of his official duties if the director, officer or employee acted in good faith and in a manner he reasonably believed to be in, or not opposed to, the best interests of the authority. If it is ultimately determined that a director, officer or employee of an authority is entitled to be indemnified by the authority as authorized in this section, he shall be indemnified against expenses, including attorneys' fees, actually and reasonably incurred by him in connection therewith. Expenses, including attorneys' fees, incurred in defending a civil action, suit or proceeding may be paid by an authority in advance of the final disposition of such action, suit or proceeding as authorized in the manner provided in this section upon receipt of an undertaking by or on behalf of the director, officer or employee, to repay such amount unless it shall ultimately be determined that he is entitled to be indemnified by the authority as authorized in this section.

The indemnification provided by this section shall not be deemed exclusive of any other rights to which those indemnified may be entitled under any bylaw, agreement, or otherwise, both as to action in his official capacity and as to action in another capacity while holding such office, and shall continue as to a person who has ceased to be a director, officer or employee, and shall inure to the benefit of the heirs, executors and administrators of such person. An authority shall have power to purchase and maintain insurance on behalf of any person who is or was a director, officer or employee of the authority against any liability asserted against him and incurred by him in any such capacity or arising out of his status as such, whether or not the authority would have the power to indemnify him against such liability under the provisions of this section.

1979, c. 416, § 15.1-1608; 1997, c. 587; 2006, cc. 929, 941.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.