ARRL Vice Director Agrees to Conditions to Resolve Conflict-of-Interest Situation

Discussion in 'ARRL News Feeds' started by American Radio Relay, May 30, 2014.

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  1. ARRL Rocky Mountain Vice Director Dwayne Allen, WY7FD, has agreed to stipulations spelled out by the ARRL Board of Directors to address a conflict-of-interest situation arising from the employment of his wife, Katie Allen, WY7KRA, by CQ Communications Inc. Emphasizing that there had been no allegations of impropriety on the part of either Dwayne or Katie Allen, the ARRL Ethics & Elections Commi...

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  2. W.T. Jones

    W.T. Jones Moderator Staff Member Silver Member Golden GPS Recipient AtlDiv EPA Leader AtlDiv ARES Member

    I usually don't see much need to comment on ARRL Bulletins as such but in this case I have to wonder if the actions of the Board were sufficient. Coming from a corporate environment that enforced the Code of Ethics so strictly that it squeaked and tolerated no breaches of the Code even by its Corporate Officers and Directors, I have to think that the compromise reached by the Board leaves too much to the discretion of the Vice Director in question without the ability of the Board to accurately monitor his activities. Just my opinion.
     
  3. wedgar

    wedgar Administrator Staff Member Gold Member

    Knowing both Dwayne and Katie personally, I believe they have the highest of ethics, and personally believe there will be no "pillow talk" about either organization.

    Additionally, after a very close review, a majority of the board felt there would not be a conflict of interest with CQ Magazine.

    Based on the information presented to the Board, I voted in favor of Director Lisenco's motion.
     
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  4. W.T. Jones

    W.T. Jones Moderator Staff Member Silver Member Golden GPS Recipient AtlDiv EPA Leader AtlDiv ARES Member

    Like I said before, that is why we hired you.

    I have a suspicious and sceptical nature which is why I was good at what I did. I liked everyone as soon as I was able to verify the facts.
     
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  5. wedgar

    wedgar Administrator Staff Member Gold Member

    In my profession, I am also suspicious and looking for why many times. :)
     
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  6. W.T. Jones

    W.T. Jones Moderator Staff Member Silver Member Golden GPS Recipient AtlDiv EPA Leader AtlDiv ARES Member

    The "code of conduct" or "code of ethics" in the world that I knew was a sacrosanct document. It was something that was to be held as the absolute guide for the conduct of members of a corporation. Violation of its terms meant you should be given the bum's rush out the door.

    As one of the people that was entrusted with investigating violations and presenting the facts on these violations I always had to be careful of any "closeness" to the individual that I was investigating. If I was too close I always stepped back and said "I shouldn't be the one investigating this." But by the same token I had to be careful not to be a "witch hunter" because I may have harbored some resentment for the person I was investigating. I really preferred the cases where I didn't know anyone and that is how things were usually assigned. And which is why I was hired out to other corporations. No baggage. It is very hard to know that you hold a person's reputation in your hands when you are looking at these things. In most cases the infraction was unintentional and without forethought. In some cases it was a well thought out attempt to circumvent the code for personal gain. In all cases I sought to gain facts and present facts to the decision making entities without any personal tinge to them. That is a hard thing to do since we are all human and when you spend time with the people that you are investigating you have to be very careful not to entwine yourself with their personalities. The old Joe Friday saying of "Just the Facts, Maam" is so true.

    All the cases that I had the encompassed Code of Ethics violations usually boiled down to one simple statement. Did the individual know and understand the code of conduct at the time of the infraction. Try and prove that! When you asked that question the response was "Yes But!"

    So while the Code of Ethics is a sacrosanct document in name and definition it usually doesn't list the penalties for violation. Why not, even though if you read the recommended guidelines for writing such a code there is the general statement that the penalty should be listed. It is not listed because it is like sentencing guidelines. It takes away the ability of the decision making entity to make adjustments in their response to the infraction. As an investigative type I really don't care about the final decision as long as I have the facts straight. I'd like to know why and if I can present a "why" that is factual I would. But the decision as to the consequences as an investigator is not mine to make. Many times I never was informed of the decision or consequences. My hope is that they were even handed and fair to all. It sometimes happens that an employee will suffer a much sterner and harsher consequence than officers of an entity. I find that a sad situation but it is not my call to make.

    And sometimes a Code can be flawed in its concepts. The Code of Conduct can't take into account all the possible happenings in life. If it did it would be a document so large that no one could comprehend it or, to be practical, know what it contains. Something like the United States Government's Budget.

    Take for instance this situation. Two brothers. Both working for separate large corporations. One brother is a high level manager in one corporation in the production area. The other brother works for a corporation that provides computer equipment for the other brother's corporation. The Computer Corporation Brother has just received a copy of his new Code of Ethics. In it there is a prohibition about giving gifts to any member of another entity that is a customer of the Computer Corporation. Absolutely prohibited. Now, keep in mind that the Computer Company Brother has absolutely nothing to do in the way of delivery, sales, or other professional services to the other brother's company. So being the good Corporate Employee, the Computer Corporation Brother calls the company legal department and the company Human Resources Department and asks "Hey, can I give my brother a Christmas Gift?" with the attending details of course. Now this got a bunch of Hmmms and Wells and I'll Have To Check responses. Since the Customer Company was a rather large customer of the Computer Company this went up the chain to the Corporate HR Officer who called the good Corporate Employee and said "We never thought of this but you are right. It is a violation of the Code!" The Good Corporate Employee said that he was going to buy a Christmas Present for his brother and a birthday present and an anniversary present so he needed some kind of accommodation here. So the final decision of the Corporate HR Person was this:

    "Yes, you may present your Brother with a gift provided he presents you with a gift of equal value and that you report this exchange to corporate HR within 30 days of the exchange along with receipts to proving the value of the gifts were equal."

    I had that memo framed and it still hangs on my shack wall. Never did send in the receipts.

    So the action taken by the Board in the case of the Director and his spouse is probably just and correct for the circumstances. It was a tempered response and, in my mind, it was an action taken. It was not "swept under the rug" and ignored. That is the good thing. Satisfaction for all.
     
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  7. wedgar

    wedgar Administrator Staff Member Gold Member

    The majority of the Board felt it important that our members knew what was going on and that there was investigation and debate about it; and ultimately a super majority of the board felt the conflict was not there; yet we took provisions to assure thre would be no future conflict of interest.
     
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