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Election Drama Down South
This has nothing to do with the general election, which was still two weeks away when this was written and will (hopefully) be decided by the time you read this. No, this is about the election for director in the ARRL's Southeastern Division, or rather, the non-election. In a very unusual move, the ARRL's Elections and Ethics Committee disqualified an incumbent director from seeking re-election, and what made it even more unusual was that the decision was made well after the committee granted routine approval for his candidacy and announced the election. What was not unusual was the way in which the process played out, in secret, with very little information provided to the members.
Back on August 25, the ARRL announced upcoming elections for director in the Southeastern and Rocky Mountain Divisions. In the southeast, the announcement said, "former Director Greg Sarratt, W4OZK, will attempt to regain that position from sitting Director Doug Rehman, K4AC Ballots and candidates' statements will go out to members eligible to vote no later than October 1, 2016, with a return deadline for completed ballots of November 18."
Then, on October 6, five days after the voting period began, the League issued the following very brief announcement: "Greg Sarratt, W4OZK, has been declared elected as Director of the ARRL Southeastern Division, to take office at noon Eastern Time on January 1, 2017."
Huh? What happened to the election? As usual in ARRL politics, there was a lot more than meets the eye going on here. Based on what we can determine and there are conflicting accounts, of course the board's Elections and Ethics committee voted to disqualify Rehman on the basis of actions he took following the announcement of the election, a decision that was subsequently ratified by a majority of the full board of directors. The specifics appear to be subject to interpretation, so we won't get into them here, but actually, the specifics are irrelevant in this case. What is significant is the procedure.
The cornerstone of Doug Rehman's initial campaign and of his time on the League board has been to push for greater openness and transparency in the ARRL's decision-making process, something we have been promoting for years (decades?). He even proposed making the board meetings available to members via live streaming over the internet.
What is amazing here is that the process by which Rehman was disqualified from seeking re-election proved his point about excessive secrecy in the League's decision-making process. The members in his division not only were not informed of the reasons for his disqualification, they weren't even told he'd been disqualified! Just a one-sentence announcement less than a week into supposed voting that the incumbent director's opponent had been declared elected. By whom? Certainly not the members. How? Unspecified. Why? None of your business.
When I tried to get more details, I was told it was "a personnel matter." Wrong. A League director is not an employee; a League director is an elected representative of the members. And if the board is taking the extreme step of taking away the members' right to vote for their representative, then the least it can do is provide an explanation and not hide behind "a personnel matter."
Regardless of what Rehman may or may not have done in the current situation, he is on target that the League operates with far too much secrecy. It is the only membership organization we know of that routinely prohibits members from observing board meetings, and now it has even taken away the members' right to vote in its most populous division. You might call it a denial of service. The members need to demand change now.
-CQ Magazine, W2VU
Recall Petition for the ARRL Southeastern Division Director is under way.
The Issue: Members of the Southeastern Division of the ARRL were told there would be an election for a new director this fall only to have a week later the ARRL declared one individual elected without any explanation or input from the members of the division.
The Proposal: To utilize the petition for recall of a director per article 7 of the articles of association of the ARRL. This will give the members of the Southeastern Division a vote on their representation which is been denied. Members can either vote "no" on the removal of the director declared elected, making that person the legitimate representative of the division. Or the members can vote yes and that person will be removed at which point the president of the ARRL will appoint someone else, the vice director.
Amateur Radio Parity Act Bill Unable to Overcome Florida Democrats Objections
The Amateur Radio Parity Act, H.R. 1301, suffered an unbefitting demise on December 9 as the 114th Congress drew to a close. After passing the House of Representatives on a unanimous vote earlier this fall, the bill stalled in the Senate due to the intervention of only one member, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL). The measure would have directed the FCC to extend its rules relating to reasonable accommodation of Amateur Service communications to private land-use restrictions, such as covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) imposed by homeowners associations.
[During 2016] Nelson received thousands of e-mails, letters, and phone calls from concerned constituents asking for his support of H.R. 1301. Numerous meetings were held with his senior staff in an effort to move the legislation forward, ARRL said in a news release. Negotiations, which led to an agreement with the Community Associations Institute (CAI), the national association of homeowners associations and publicly supported by CAI and ARRL, were brushed aside by Sen. Nelson as irrelevant.
In a final meeting with Nelsons staff as the 114th Congress neared adjournment, it became clear that no matter what was said or done, the Senator would oppose the bill and refuse to allow it to move forward. Because the measure had not been put on the floor schedule, the only way it could have passed the Senate would have been through a process called unanimous consent. A Senate member may request unanimous consent on the floor to set aside rules and expedite proceedings. If any single Senator objects, though, the request is rejected.
The unhappy ending followed
nearly 2 years of intense effort on the part of ARRL and thousands of
its members, who contacted their Congressional representatives to urge
their support of the measure on Capitol Hill. The ARRL Board of Directors
is expected to discuss the future of the initiative at its January meeting.
History: A Century of Amateur Radio and the ARRL
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