As you might have seen, there is a considerable amount of effort being expended by Mr. John Crovelli W2GD and his myarrlvoice group to not only challenging my candidacy but the candidacy of the other four incumbent candidates as well. The reason for this can be traced back to the censure of South West Division Director Norton on November 16th, 2017. As a member of the ARRL Ethics and Election Committee I was responsible for the task of collection and presenting the information that had been gathered to the Board.
While it is true that a portion of the discussion in that meeting did concern Mr. Norton’s actions and Statements at the 2017 DX Convention in Visalia, the majority of the discussion was about Director Norton’s actions in and out of the Boardroom concerning the mistreatment of ARRL staff and abusive conduct towards fellow Board members. If you are under the impression that 75% of the Board would censure a fellow Director based on what that Director said at a Hamfest or Convention, you would be completely misled.
The most compelling portion of the discussion in that November 2017 meeting centered on the derogatory nature of Director Norton’s comments in the Board room towards other Board members and specifically about that staff member and abusive nature of his statements to a female Staff member. My largest concern about this issue arose from my fiduciary responsibility to the members of the League which does require me to speak out against any potential or demonstrated creation of a hostile work environment, such as what had evidently been created by Director Norton’s discourse. Given the seriousness the creation of a hostile work environment does encompass, I felt that Director Norton’s damning rhetoric and mis-characterizations could not continue without challenge. The ARRL is not only a member-driven membership organization but the League is also an employer. And as an employer, there are responsibilities and duties to the employees under Connecticut and Federal Law to conduct all business, including employee reviews in a professional, respectful, non-threatening and non-confrontational manner.
A censure is the statement of displeasure of the actions of another member of the body, and a public censure is when the knowledge of that displeasure is recorded publicly, not the details but the fact that such a matter was considered and that vote was cast for a censure. The censure is a statement of displeasure with the actions of another and nothing more. There is no removal from office, loss of privilege, membership or entitlement. The action of a censure is to provide the group an opportunity to discuss a complaint about the actions of another and then move on.
In this particular situation with Director Norton, he has rallied his friends in various circles to his side and formed myarrlvoice, and the 75% of the Board who had voted for Director Norton’s censure began to receive what can best be described as “hate mail” primarily from the ARRL South West Division members. A common theme in those letters was that the Censure should be Revoked. A censure is similar to any other statement in the regard that; like a bell once rung – it cannot be recalled or revoked.
A question I have been recently repeatedly asked is if I would have voted the same way now, had I known then the present “political” entanglements. That answer is yes, given the totality of the circumstances of Director Norton’s actions. Having witnessed myself his needlessly sharp and stridently hateful attacks upon staff and fellow Board members I would not change my vote. I am still comfortable with the expression of displeasure with certain occasions of his actions. I believe that the censure for those particular actions was warranted.
As I have mentioned that is the substance of a censure – it is statement of displeasure with his actions and given the past intensity of his verbal abuse the censure was a group expression of displeasure of that Director Norton richly deserved.
Had it been me that was being censured, I would have apologized and moved on. A censure has no other purpose or encumbrance and should signal the end of an issue. But in this instance, it has become a political tool for Director Norton.