In the time since the September, 2006 meeting of IARC, I have had some time to evaluate the past, current, and future direction of the club. While I have high hopes for the future, the recent past history of the organization has led to a tumultuous environment for current members.
First, I wish to express my distaste for the conduct of certain members of the board. Behind the theatrics and the insinuations of these individuals was a level of arrogance and distrust. The people who commented at the meeting were expressing an opinion and asking questions. The recipients of the comments did not handle themselves the way I expect grown adults to behave. I saw simple retorts and finger-pointing instead of simple responses to questions being brought forth. I saw senseless antics in the face of a (likely) false accusation of wrong-doing. Instead of calm answers to the politely-worded questions, I saw a couple of individuals who should have had the security of their actions to have replied in kind. Despite the ideas or accusations floating around the room and out of the mouths of people in the room, I expect a level of courtesy and decency from the leadership of any organization. I expect the same from the President of the United States; I expect the same from the manager at a local store. I do have to agree with one statement made by Mr. Ackerman. The members present at the meeting were above-board and conducted themselves with integrity. I cannot say the same for some of the executive board.
Second, I would like to take issue with the way the election was handled. The election should have been for President, no matter the interpretation of the by-laws. The by-laws indicate, in section 5, that Robert’s Rules of Order are used as the guideline for the conduct of the meetings and of the officers. If you assume that Robert’s Rules actually apply to the club on a permanent basis, the Rules only indicate that an organization missing a president uses a vice-president to fill the role of the chairperson for the purposes of the meetings until otherwise directed. Since Robert’s Rules have no provision for the promotion of officers, one must fall back on by-laws to indicate when such an action occurs. Since no direct succession of officers is implied, the reader must assume that the members would be filling the vacated position. In this case, the vacated position was of the president. Conversely, a reader might correctly assume that Robert’s Rules of Order do not apply to the structure of a club. Robert’s Rules explicitly indicate that they apply only to the operation of a meeting. Therefore, one can only fall back to the by-laws as the guiding document; one must also then come to the same conclusion as if Robert’s Rules of Order were in use. However, no debate was allowed on the issue as to whether the open position was president or vice-president.
This lack of debate brings me to my third point. The operation of the meeting was civil, but it also is very indicative of the largest problem with our club.
The largest issue to face our club since I have been a member has been the filling of this open position. When John Lehman, Jr. made a comment asking about the position in question, he was told very quickly, in a far too direct tone, that he needed to be quiet, as the issue had been settled. I ask you, as he did, “When did the club settle the issue of the election?” The answer is simple; it was decided by a select few individuals before the meeting began, and that is simply the way it was going to be. I also caught a whiff of arrogance after the nominations, when I attempted to raise the same point there that I am raising here, only to receive a very harsh response in return.
Responses to questions or commitments have often been met by skepticism and disdain. When Mr. Ackerman raised the point of the “newbies” needing to begin to take control, I recalled an incident during the organization of Field Day 2005. There was an attempt to discuss the location of the Field Day events, which were originally scheduled for Hoover Instruments. I certainly appreciate that Mr. Weeks allowed the club to use his personal and business property to conduct that year’s event. However, attempts were made to have the club vote on the use of outlying areas, such as Little Apple Orchard or to use Mohican Kennels, with lots of open land to spread out, along with nearby restrooms. These suggestions were answered with, “It would be too much of a hassle to move the equipment,” which was already in the basement of Hoover Instruments. Several people, including myself, volunteered to move the equipment for the event and return it after the event was complete. All Mr. Weeks would have had to do was to simply unlock the basement and supervise. Obviously, this suggestion was not followed, for the event did occur at Mr. Weeks’ business.
Incident after incident, the leadership of the club has not provided an open line of communication from its members to the executive board, if that communication does not fall in line with the plans of certain individuals. The dissenting comments that were posted in the original version of the August 2006 Airwaves Journal were absolutely correct, in their honesty and their individual opinion. I also agree that a world-accessible forum is not the right location to take care of the issues that our club has faced in the last few months. However, the leadership of the club seems to have left the authors of the comments no choice.
Since joining the ranks of the other amateur radio operators world-wide, I have had a positive experience, overall. Most of the people I have been exposed to have been “elmers” in the true sense of the word. I have to give Henry (WD8Q) and Mike (W8OR) credit for amazing me with their fisting talents. I also give credit to Jay (KC8GNL), Danny (KB8STK), and Ken (KC8TDW) for allowing me to be a part of a well-organized and improving ARES and Skywarn program. Dealing with the club has proven to be less than satisfactory, with a lack of two-way communication between club officials and the general membership. I will continue to be a dues-paying member of the club because I believe that the community needs ARES, Skywarn, and IARC; I also plan on participating as much as I can in all aspects of the club to improve the experience for myself and for others.