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ARRL Board of Directors Publicly Censures Southwestern Division Director:

from The ARRL Letter on November 30, 2017
View comments about this article!

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."

The minutes of the special ARRL Board of Directors meeting have been posted on the ARRL website.


The ARRL Letter

Member Comments:
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ARRL Board of Directors Publicly Censures Southwestern Divis  
by W6EM on December 1, 2017 Mail this to a friend!

After having read the Minutes of the special meeting, I was left with nothing more than who voted for and who voted against.

I would think that the membership, and the "censured" Director deserve a hearing of the details of what allegedly occurred. Especially with a less than unanimous decision as to his censure.

For all we know, he could have pointed out where, in his opinion, (and perhaps that of others, too) that the League had erred in its activities or actions in a manner that harmed amateur radio.

Without "naming names," the complaint accusation(s) and those from members who supported the Director via written statements, should have been posted for members to better understand the circumstances.

At this point, for all we know, this could have been a Kangaroo Court of Newington-Proportion, where the victim was truly a hero on behalf of amateur radio, yet vilified in order to discourage anyone else similarly inclined from speaking out.
RE: ARRL Board of Directors Publicly Censures Southwestern D  
by W6EM on December 3, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
**Posted with Permission of Authors**

From: Lee McVey [*********]
Sent: 3 December, 2017 5:51 AM
To: Mark
Cc: Doug Rehman
Subject: Re: Code of Conduct & Censure of Dick Norton

Thank you very much for sharing. This all fits, now, into my previous belief that a cloak of secrecy was/is desired by ARRL leaders. Those above and beyond the Directors.

The former Southeastern Director, Doug Rehman, K4AC, was unfairly removed as a candidate for his own re-election at the last election, and a former Director, Greg Sarratt, was "declared elected" by the Ethics and Elections Committee. Doug was unique in that he shared with the Division members a good deal of topics being considered, and some initiatives of his own, as I believe all ARRL Directors should do. Doug did nothing wrong. He was victimized by perhaps the same cadre who wished to censure Dick inappropriately.

I can see now that Doug was ushered out for wanting to be what you and most other members would like to see in their League: leadership openly sharing discussions and concepts from meetings, and where they stand on them. Minutes will likely now only include what Directors wish members to know. A sad day.

I would like to know what my Division Director is doing (or wants to do) on behalf of members. And, I expect him or her to push back on items that would be unpopular with the majority of members. With the new policy, (and a hand-picked good old boy here in the SE Division) that certainly won't happen..

What you've shared with me deserves to be shared as widely as possible. Please post as a thread on Eham and QRZ; and perhaps with AR Newsline, so that we can understand the ill-conceived mindset that was behind the new Code of Conduct and Dick Norton's inappropriate censure. His reputation has been harmed, and he deserves to be defended.


W. Lee McVey, PE Ret.
Life Senior Member, IEEE

On Sunday, December 3, 2017 6:59 AM, Mark <*************> wrote:

Hello Lee,

The following is a copy of an email I recently sent around. It expresses my outrage at the current ARRL situation.


Mark, K6FG


November 22, 2017

Actions taken this year by the ARRL leadership have undermined my admiration and respect for the League, its officers and directors. As a long time ham, I grew up in the hobby with the understanding that I could always count on the League to be a fair and democratic national organization devoted to the best interests of amateur radio.

Well things apparently changed in 2017.

The Code of Conduct is one of the most outrageous pieces of legislation that I could imagine. The gag order that binds the directors to secrecy offends my sense of ethics and propriety. What possible harm can result in allowing a director to share with his or her division’s hams the vote taken by that director on any Board resolution that passed or failed? Without that information, how can the members evaluate whether or not he or she deserves another term? Members will simply have no basis upon which to reelect (or throw out) a sitting director. Worse yet, a challenger can freely slander and attack the existing league administration; but the sitting directors will not have the right to counter false and malicious attacks.

The Code of Conduct is something I would expect to be enacted in countries that have totalitarian despotic leaders who strive to maintain a government without opposition or dissent. Shame on the ARRL; it should be better than that!

As for Norton, he was convicted by the League in the absence of evidence against him. Apparently the ARRL’s sense of due process does not require evidence.

Since the Board’s groundless censure of Norton, I have attended several amateur radio gatherings. Response to my negative comments about the Code of Conduct and about Norton’s censure has been 100% supportive of my strongly felt opinions.

Please review the copy of my November 9, 2017 email that I sent to the ARRL directors and officers. In that email, I clearly stated (at the 2017 Visalia DX Convention) that it was the membership that expressed strong disagreement with the Code of Conduct, not Norton. Norton clearly stated that he fully supported the League and its actions.

Please also review the copy of November 8, 2017 email to the officers and directors of ARRL from Tim Duffy, K3LR.

You are authorized and encouraged to widely share and publish this email (and the incorporated emails) throughout the ham radio community. Maybe responsive chords will resonate.

Thank you and 73,



Verbatim copy of November 9, 2017 email sent by K6FG to the ARRL officers and directors:

November 9, 2017

Dear ********,

This email is sent to you in response Director Dick Norton’s request that I provide you with my recollection of some events that took place at the ARRL Forum during the 2017 International DX Convention in Visalia, California.

For your consideration, at the end of this letter I have included a brief statement of my relevant background information.

I don’t recall the identity of all of the members of the Visalia ARRL Forum’s panel, but Dick Norton appeared to be the primary speaker.

One of the topics addressed was the new Code of Conduct.

Dick Norton began the program by stating that he, as a Director, fully supports the actions of the Board of Directors. He covered some points of the new code that impact his relationship with the membership. Dick then inquired of those present if there were any questions or comments from the floor.

In response to Dick’s inquiry, several of us raised our hands and were recognized.

When I spoke, I was very direct in my strong opposition to enactment of the confidentiality provisions contained in the Code of Conduct. My expressed thoughts included, but were not limited to the following:

1. I acknowledged that Board member loyalty and commitment to the League was
properly mandated; but the gag order contained in the Code of Conduct is clearly contrary to my sense of serving the best interests of the ARRL members.

2. I stated that contrary to the view expressed by the current ARRL administration, ARRL is a representative organization. That is, our districts elect directors and vice-directors to create and implement policies and rules that best represent the interests of amateur radio in general, AND THE INTERESTS OF OUR DISTRICT IN PARTICULAR.

3. It is my understanding that directors and vice-directors are precluded from informing their district members of the various (and conflicting) views expressed by the directors during the legislative process. If my observation is correct, I fear following will occur:
A. I may never be provided with information upon which I can evaluate the propriety of the Board’s action.

B. I will never know the positions advocated or supported by my director at the Board meeting.

C. I will never know if my elected director acted in furtherance of the best interests of the hobby in general, or in the best interests my district in particular

D. I will have no factual basis upon which to support or oppose my director’s bid for reelection when his or her current term ends.

Much to my surprise, as I was sitting down after I finished delivering my brief remarks, there was unanimous and very loud applause. I was shocked because I had not intended to stir up widespread opposition to the ARRL leadership’s action; it was my intention to simply express the reasons for my opposition to the Code of Conduct.

It was immediately apparent to me that my remarks resonated with nearly everyone in the room. In fact, at the conclusion of discussion of the issue, the call for a vote in support or opposition to the Code of Conduct resulted in an overwhelming condemnation of the Code.

The Code of Conduct has been discussed at meetings I attended this year at our local radio clubs. The consensus among the club members was always consistent with the reaction to my comments at the Visalia ARRL Forum.

It is my fear that the League is heading down the path of becoming a secret “Star Chamber” organization without the transparency to which our membership is entitled.

Please do not form the impression that I believe Board disclosure to the membership is absolute. I indeed recognize the need to maintain confidentiality of proceedings in appropriate circumstances.

The Code of Conduct is already generating adverse consequences to the League. I personally know of valuable bequests that have been withdrawn as a result of the new disclosure rules. If this action is a trend, the League will definitely be harmed

It is my opinion that the League’s leadership made a major mistake in adopting the Code of Conduct. Please do what you can to cause the Board to revisit the Code of Conduct legislation. Please remove the “gag order” provisions. Please freshen the air the surrounds the ARRL leadership.

Thank you & 73,


P.S. The following is a brief summary of my background:

Amateur Radio
ARRL life member
Former chair of IARU Region 2 Band Plan Committee
Former member of ARRL Band Plan Committee

1967-1968: Litton Data Systems. Engineer
1969-1985: Attorney
1986-2006: Los Angeles County Superior Court


Verbatim copy of November 8, 2017 email sent by K3LR to the ARRL officers and directors:

Dear Officers and Directors of the American Radio Relay League, Inc.;

I attended the ARRL Forum held at the April 2017 International DX Convention in Visalia, California, as I do every year. Dick Norton, N6AA has asked me to report on two of my observations during the ARRL forum.

One item discussed at the ARRL forum was the new ARRL code of conduct for ARRL Directors. Dick Norton covered items contained in the code of conduct. It was clear that the audience was not happy about what was being told to them. A number of forum audience participants spoke in strong opposition to certain aspects of the code. My own personal attorney (and ARRL volunteer counsel) K3LA was surprised by what N6AA presented. K3LA is also opposed to the code and seeing the audience was clearly upset by Dick's presentation concerning the code, he walked out of the room. The opposition came from the upset audience, not from Dick Norton. Norton specifically pointed out that he supports the board's positions. I have previously discussed this code and other ARRL topics with Dick. I was not surprised by the audience's strong negative response to the code. Their reaction also mirrors my own feelings.

Second, I have been asked to report that there were many other topics covered at the forum. That is true. The code of conduct was only a part of the agenda that Dick discussed at the ARRL forum.

Please do not hesitate to contact me directly if you have questions.

Very 73,
Tim Duffy K3LR
ARRL Maxim Society & ARRL Diamond Club Member
ARRL Life Member

RE: ARRL Board of Directors Publicly Censures Southwestern D  
by WB8VLC on December 4, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Crap, It looks like I need to find a new hobby, because now I feel like I'm a member of an organization run by a bunch of HOA WANNABES.

I'm sure that after my objection to this laughable ARRL CODE OF CONDUCT nonsense is seen by the ARRL that my 11 remaining paid for issues of QST will get lost in the mail and my LOTW certificate will stop working.

I'm sorry that this didn't come to publication prior to me renewing my membership so my question is, how do I get my membership dues back?
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