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ARRL Code of mis-Conduct?

Recently I have become aware of an issue regarding the ARRL (Amateur Radio Relay League, The national association for Amateur Radio) and the Board of Directors which I don't feel that I can remain silent on. I have been a member of the ARRL for many years, but due to this I don't feel that I can renew my membership until there are some serious changes made. As a member, soon to be former member, I find the Code of Conduct to be offensive and hypocritical.

This is a link to the Code of Conduct: ARRL Code of Conduct

In my opinion, the ARRL Board of Directors has violated the Code of Conduct due to violating 1.b., which states that A Board member should take no action that could adversely affect the reputation or credibility of the ARRL, or discourage membership in the organization. Passing the Code of Conduct and the public censure adversely affects the reputation AND credibility of the ARRL, as well as discouraging membership. It has convinced me to NOT renew my membership. It seems to me that instead of representing the members, the Board is more concerned with protecting themselves. In my opinion the Code of Conduct should have been voted on by the membership, not just the Board. This would create discussion prior to their actions and allow the membership to be informed about the issue.

How exactly does a Board member communicate serious issues with members who can push the Board to act in their best interest if the Code of Conduct prevents the Board member from speaking out to the membership who they are supposed to represent? I have heard it said by the Board members of other organizations regarding issues that people are not saying anything so obviously they don't have an issue with it. The problem with this is that if the members are not aware of the issue and can not be made aware of the issue, then why would they ever speak out about it? It is just a fraud of Board members to defend and protect their actions.

8.d. which says "A Board member must not take actions publically or with respect to the ARRL membership that have the purpose or effect of undermining or discrediting the decisions or actions of the Board", clearly is to be used against any Board member who speaks to the membership regarding issues which the Board has voted on, thereby preventing ANY change since the issue may only be in the best interest of the Board and NOT the membership.


This is the email notification that I received regarding the matter. In addition, I sent an email to the Secretary, but so far have received NO response, which is also unacceptable as a member of the ARRL


ARRL Board of Directors Publicly Censures Southwestern Division Director

Acting on a recommendation of its Ethics and Elections Committee, the ARRL Board of Directors has publicly censured one of its own -- ARRL Southwestern Director Dick Norton, N6AA. On an 11-3 vote, with one member abstaining, the Board adopted a resolution to censure Norton for criticizing the ARRL Code of Conduct for Board members at an Amateur Radio gathering "by virtue of his characterizations thereof, thus 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 admonished Norton that no further similar behavior would be tolerated.

The resolution cited "multiple portions of the Code of Conduct" that Norton was found to have violated. The Board's action related to a complaint filed with the Ethics and Elections Committee by an ARRL member. The Board met in special session by teleconference on November 14 to consider the matter.

According to the resolution, fellow Board members had cautioned Norton that "his actions and his manner" in criticizing the Code of Conduct for Board members were "not acceptable and cannot continue, with no notable change in his behavior since that time."

Norton had been provided with a copy of the Ethics and Elections Committee resolution, dated September 7, 2017, and responded to it in writing, accompanied by statements of four ARRL members who supported his response.

The Board found that Norton's violation of the ARRL Code of Conduct had "caused harm to the League" and provided sufficient cause to publicly censure Norton for "unacceptable behavior as an ARRL Board member."


Minutes of Special Board Meeting ARRL Board of Directors

November 14, 2017 1. Pursuant to due notice, the Board of Directors of the ARRL, Inc. met in special session by teleconference at 9:02 PM Tuesday November 14, 2017 with President Rick Roderick, K5UR, in the Chair and the following Directors on the conference call: Tom Abernethy, W3TOM, Atlantic Division Kermit Carlson, W9XA, Central Division Kent Olson, KA0LDG, Dakota Division David Norris, K5UZ, Delta Division Dale Williams, WA8EFK, Great Lakes Division Mike Lisenco, N2YBB, Hudson Division Rod Blocksome, KØDAS, Midwest Division Tom Frenaye, K1KI, New England Division Jim Pace, K7CEX, Northwestern Division Bob Vallio, W6RGG, Pacific Division James Boehner, N2ZZ, Roanoke Division Dwayne Allen, WY7FD, Rocky Mountain Division Dick Norton, N6AA, Southwestern Division David Woolweaver, K5RAV, West Gulf Division

Present without vote were Greg Widin, K0GW, First Vice President; Brian Mileshosky, N5ZGT, Second Vice-President; Jay Bellows, K0QB, International Affairs Vice President; and Tom Gallagher, NY2RF, Chief Executive Officer and Secretary. Also present were General Counsel Christopher D. Imlay, W3KD; and Dan Henderson, N1ND, as Assistant Secretary. Greg Sarratt, W4OZK, Southeastern Division Director joined the meeting at 9:53 PM. Chief Financial Officer Barry J. Shelley, N1VXY; and Frederick Niswander, K7GM, Treasurer were not present on the teleconference.

2. President Roderick stated that the noticed purpose of the meeting was to discuss the report of the Ethics and Elections Committee. Mr. Carlson, moved seconded by Mr. Pace, that the Board resolve to a Committee of the Whole to discuss personnel matters, with all officers, directors, General Counsel Imlay and Mr. Henderson, as recording secretary, remaining in the meeting. A recorded vote being requested, the motion was ADOPTED with 11 yeas, 0 nays, and 3 voting present or abstaining. Directors Abernethy, Carlson, Olson, Norris, Williams, Lisenco, Blocksome, Frenaye, Pace, Boehner and Allen voted YEA, and Directors Vallio, Norton and Woolweaver abstained or voted present and the Board resolved to a Committee of the Whole at 9:23 PM.

3. On the motion of Mr. Norris, seconded by Mr. Frenaye the Committee of the Whole rose at 11:25 PM. On the motion of Mr. Carlson, seconded by Dr. Boehner, the report of the Committee of the Whole was ADOPTED by a unanimous 15-0 vote with all Board Members voting Aye.

4. Mr. Carlson, moved, seconded by Mr. Lisenco that:

Whereas, Mr. Richard Norton, N6AA, publicly criticized the ARRL Code of Conduct for Board members at a public Amateur Radio gathering by virtue of his characterizations thereof, thus 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, in violation of multiple portions of the Code of Conduct, including but not limited to Sections 1.b. and 8.a, 8.b., 8.d; and 8.f; and

Whereas, Mr. Norton has been cautioned by Board members that his actions and his manner in the above respects are not acceptable and cannot continue, with no notable change in his behavior since that time; and

Whereas, Mr. Norton has been given a copy of the Recommendation of the Ethics and Elections Committee dated September 7, 2017, and has responded to it and tendered to the Board of Directors four statements of ARRL members in support of his response;

Now, therefore, the Board of Directors having considered the recommendation of the Ethics and Elections Committee at a Special Meeting of the Board of Directors duly called for the purpose of considering the actions of Mr. Norton and an appropriate remedy therefor, and in view of the information before it and taking into account Mr. Norton's response and his submissions in response thereto, finds that there exists sufficient cause (i.e. a material violation of the ARRL Code of Conduct that has caused harm to the League) to publicly censure Mr. Norton for his unacceptable behavior as an ARRL Board Member, and Mr. Norton is admonished by the Board that no further, similar behavior will be tolerated. That action is so ordered.

After discussion and a roll call vote being requested, the motion was ADOPTED by a vote of 11 Aye, 3 Nay and 1 abstention with Directors Carlson, Olson, Norris, Williams, Lisenco, Blocksome, Frenaye, Pace, Boehner, Allen and Sarratt voting aye, Directors Abernethy, Norton and Woolweaver voting nay, and Director Vallio abstaining.

5. On the motion of Dr. Boehner, seconded by Mr. Lisenco the Board voted to adjourn at 11:55 PM EST with all fifteen directors voting Aye. (Time in session as a Board: 51 minutes. Time in session as a Committee of the Whole: 2 hours 2 minutes).

Respectfully submitted;

Daniel Henderson, N1ND Assistant Secretary - ARRL.


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Written: 30-Nov-2017

Updated: 30-Nov-2017

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