Thursday, January 19, 2017

ARRL HQ: 'It depends on what your definition of 'state resident' is ...'

Jan. 19, 2017 -- Yes friends, I'm back. Did not mean to be gone so long, but the ARRL has not been on my radar much of late -- until I heard back from my dear friend in another Division.

He had told me more than a year ago about some rumblings of unhappiness in one of the sections in his division in regard to the Section Manager. After the SM was elected (the long-time SM had decided not to run again), he found a sucker -- er, "volunteer" to run as a candidate to take the SM position. No one filed to run against him, and is policy, he was declared elected.

Well, after Mr. New SM took office, it was only a couple months or so later when he left the state. He went to work doing contract work that took him out of the state for about 9 months straight. Over a period of a year, he was in the state for about 3 or 4 weeks of that. The rest of the time, he lived several states away.

Mr. New SM had a way of sending snarky emails that did more to piss people with inadvertent insults and unwanted criticism. The term I heard used was "badgering." It was an annoyance, but people let it slide. Then he angered the ARES crowd, and after a couple of really bad choices for SEC -- and the fleeing of volunteers from the ARES program -- league members in the section contacted HQ to express concern. The response was ... well, nothing really. One industrious chap decided to craft a really nice letter detailing the complaints about the SM -- plus the fact he was living out of state for most of the year, and was vocal on social media about staying out of state. He sent the letter to all of the directors as well as the League president and CEO, as well as anyone who would listen. The director and League officials circled the wagons and responded with statements of complete support for Mr. New (and out-of-state) SM. His residence did change; from New England he moved to the Southwest, while still representing a section that was states away. According to my friend, ARRL HQ said Mr. New SM was a resident of the proper state. There was no hint that they felt the complaints were valid.

From what I've heard, for the past year he's visited his section a twice, one of those was for the state ARRL convention (yeah, that would be one to come home for!). I know we all have to have jobs, but is it intellectually dishonest to call yourself the Section Manager of a section you do not live in? Now he maintains an address in the section, but rumors are the home is owned by a friend of his, and isn't really his home.

Well, rumors hell -- its true. The PVA records show that one of the SM's longtime friends owns the SM's home he calls his home base. The friend got it from his mother after she died. It makes sense that the SM would not own or rent the home he lives in ... he's only there a few weeks out of the year.

Mr. New SM may wind up Mr. Former SM -- a former SM is going to run in the next election.

Again, I don't begrudge anyone the right to earn a living, but it is clear that according to the state regulations, he is no longer considered a resident of a state once you live someplace else outside that state as long as he has. The ARRL needs to support its elected officials, but when an official no longer lives in the state he represents, I think it betrays the who purpose of having an Section Manager.

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