ARRL CEO Resigns. I think that is a great thing!

The reasons for it was cited that recent changes included in the new federal tax law that made it unattractive for him to continue working in Connecticut, where ARRL is headquartered.

“With the recent Code of Conduct and censure incident and the proposed voting and membership changes, I’m left with the impression of an organization that is closed, secretive, adverse to dissent, and focused on self-preservation.  The Force of 50 debacle points to an organization eager to project to the public a disaster response “photo-op” image that neither the organization or the amateur radio service supports or deserves.  Over the years I’ve personally seen other examples that support these two impressions but never dwelled on them as ARRL garnered my utmost respect as I felt that the League, despite its flaws, in general was taking amateur radio in the right direction.  I no longer have that confidence in the organization.” Written by Radio Artisan

A recent from the ARRL… “A Message to Members from ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR” talked about what I think got the ball rolling in the departure. It seems the longtime Southwestern Division Director Dick Norton,

N6AA, a director, was censured for violating a gag order. “The board said that Norton, by allegedly stating his opposition to the new policy, was “criticizing publicly the collective action of the Board of Directors adopting said Code of Conduct and drawing the Board’s collective decision making into disrepute.” The board resolution continued to say that Norton’s criticism of this policy had “caused harm to the League” and constituted “unacceptable behavior as an ARRL Board member.” According to the CQ White Paper.

The ARRL said “To those who try to suggest that the Board has abandoned its obligation to the members in favor of the organization — you draw a distinction that doesn’t exist.”

The letter went on to say… “The divisive tactics that are being used now, commenced through disinformation and a lack of candor, are harmful not only to the organization, but to Amateur Radio operators everywhere, the good work of the ARRL staff, and the Service that we love so much.”

Perception that people have is their reality. It is paramount of any organization to put to rest those perceptions and not to hide behind them. It seems we get disinformation because we don’t get information. Communication is the responsibility of the person doing the communicating. For an organization built around communicating, they do not do a great job of communicating to their members.

I was a Public information officer at one time and the ARRL took down the ARRL PIO email server where PIO’s shared information and got help. Then they sent out a email telling everyone to refer media request directly to the ARRL. My question was then why have PIO’s?



Transparency in governance and input from ARRL membership are both important considerations for the Board. Board members must, however, balance those considerations against their legal and fiduciary obligations to maintain the confidentiality of sensitive or proprietary information obtained as a result of Board service. In addition, maintaining the confidentiality of the Board’s deliberations (especially but not limited to those discussions held in executive sessions or committees of the whole) is essential to having full and frank discussions necessary for effective policymaking.

CQ Amateur Radio published a CQ White Paper: What is the ARRL So Afraid of?

https://cqnewsroom.blogspo te-paper-on-arrl-secrecy-and.html

The white paper is worth a read and it lays out some of the perceived issues the ARRL board has caused amongst its members. Some of the things they lay are:

  1. Shutting down the PR Reflector and director all media inquires go to ARRL when the ARRL didn’t have a media relation’s manager. This was during the Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria that ravaged various parts of the US coast and Caribbean.
  2. Disqualifying a sitting vice director from running for director and not telling the division’s membership.

3 Adopting a new policy on Board Governance and Conduct of Member.

But I have no way of knowing if what they say is true about elected officials. “(Interestingly, it has been pointed out to us that a majority of the current League board members have not actually been elected, but rather have been either appointed to fill a vacancy or put into/kept in office by virtue of potential opponents being disqualified from running, sometimes on very questionable grounds and, again, shrouded in secrecy.)”

I do agree with the final part of the white paper when they say, “We will say this again, at risk of being censured ourselves: The ARRL is not the National Security Council. None of the matters that come before the League board are so sensitive that they require absolute secrecy. Prohibiting dissent, and prohibiting elected representatives from discussing their views and their votes with their constituents is un-American. Elected representatives should, in nearly all cases, be elected rather than appointed … Excessive secrecy and punishment for dissent are undemocratic and un-American; they should not be tolerated by the members of an organization that operates in that manner.”

Darren Holbrook