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N6XI Letter November 29, 2017

From: Rick Tavan N6XI <>
Date: Wed, Nov 29, 2017 at 4:30 PM
Subject: Donation Status
To: ARRL Development Manager Lauren Clarke KB1YDD <>
Cc: Pacific Division Director Robert Vallio W6RGG <>, Soutwest Division Director Richard Norton N6AA <>, ARRL President Rick Roderick K5UR <>, ARRL CEO Tom Gallagher NY2RF <>,,,,,,,,,,,

The ARRL Board’s recent censure of Director Richard Norton N6AA and the establishment of the gag order “ARRL POLICY ON BOARD GOVERNANCE AND CONDUCT OF MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND VICE DIRECTORS” are a shocking abrogation of the trust that the League has established with its members over a century of service to amateur radio. As a result, please be advised that:

  1. Until further notice, I will make no more voluntary contributions to the League.
  2. If I am enrolled in any automatic or repeating donation programs at ARRL, please cancel them immediately. If you wish, I will agree to stop using my Maxim Society QSL cards.
  3. I intend to remove ARRL as a beneficiary of my living trust. Please remove my name from your list of those planning bequests to the League.

This imprudent action against a long-serving Director of the highest ethical standing and the draconian gag order are antithetical to responsible, democratic operation of a volunteer-based, membership organization. It appears that the Board censured Dick simply for stating the existence of a publicly available policy! How can that be considered inappropriate? The policy itself is verbose and overbearing. It stifles debate, mocks transparency, emasculates the elected Directors and Vice Directors, and alienates the membership. I expect far better from my League.

Lest you think that I am “talking out of school,” please note that I have been an outside director of two private companies, an executive officer of a public corporation, and a member of boards of directors and executive committees of at least four non-profit organizations, including one of comparable size, reach, and budget to ARRL. I understand fully why some board actions must be private and why a well-considered code of conduct is appropriate. These restrictions and this censure, however, are excessive, unjustifiable, and counter-productive. As the late, great ARRL President Vic Clark W4KFC used to remind us, volunteer organizations neglect or disrespect their members at their own sure peril.

For what it’s worth, I have been an ARRL member continuously since the early 1960s and a Life Member since the 1970s. I served in the Field Organization in my early years and have been an enthusiastic supporter of recent ARRL activities, including the Hartford National Convention and Second Century Campaign. I am not a habitual rabble-rouser and I certainly do not expect to agree with everything done by any organization or individual. This is only the second time that I can recall, in over fifty years of membership, that I have registered written objection to a League action, although I must confess that I was tempted to do so also when I learned of the League’s astonishing sell-out to the HOA industry. Perhaps that was the motivation behind the gag order?!

ARRL can be better than this.

With sincere regrets,

Richard Tavan, N6XI (Rick)

Life Member