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From the ARRL Letter, July 3, 2008

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  • Hank Greeb
    From *************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 27, No. 26 July 3, 2008 *************** == ARRL TELLS RED CROSS OF REMAINING BACKGROUND CHECK POLICY CONCERNS ARRL
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 3, 2008
      The ARRL Letter
      Vol. 27, No. 26
      July 3, 2008


      ARRL President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, has written to Armond T. Mascelli,
      Vice President for Domestic Disaster response for the American Red Cross
      (ARC) to identify the ARRL's remaining concerns over the background
      check policy for ARC partners. Harrison emphasized that the commencement
      of negotiation of a replacement Statement of Understanding (SOU) between
      the two organizations should not be further delayed while these concerns
      are resolved and that he looked forward to signing a new SOU once
      additional edits to the background check Disclosure Form and
      clarifications of the background check Authorization Form are in place
      for those radio amateurs who volunteer their service to the Red Cross.

      Harrison first wrote to Mascelli on November 28, 2007, setting out the
      ARRL's concerns with the background check procedures recently
      implemented by the ARC. ARC now requires a background check for Amateur
      Radio volunteers seeking to support a Red Cross disaster relief response
      for more than a seven day period. In the ARRL's view, Amateur Radio
      volunteers were being asked to consent to a more intrusive background
      check than was necessary or appropriate.

      Mascelli's reply on May 8, 2008, addressed some of the ARRL's concerns
      and Harrison's latest letter to the ARC -- sent on June 30, 2008 --
      recognizes considerable improvement in the forms related to the
      background check procedures that are linked via the ARC's Web site;
      however, Harrison also states that analysis of the forms has revealed
      two continuing problems:

      * The Authorization for Background Investigation consent form still
      contains "some highly equivocal and broad language which, because of its
      ambiguity, will inevitably discourage substantial numbers of radio
      amateurs from participating in the background check process." This form
      was not included with Mascelli's reply and was not seen by the ARRL
      until later.

      * The "Disclosure Regarding Background Investigation" can still be
      construed as overly broad, although this can be corrected by fairly
      simple edits.

      Harrison told Mascelli, "We do not want the implementation of these
      additional changes to further delay the negotiation of the terms of a
      replacement SOU. A new SOU is, in my view, a critical and urgent matter.
      Because the old SOU expired on September 16, 2007, the vacuum thereafter
      has served neither ARRL nor ARC well." ARRL and ARC staff are ready to
      work on a draft replacement SOU, the text of which will be reviewed by
      the ARRL's Programs and Services Committee and approved by either the
      Executive Committee or the Board prior to completion.

      Harrison concluded, "We look forward to continuing to provide seamless
      disaster response communications by Amateur Radio and to enhancing and
      expanding ARRL's proud partnership with the American Red Cross. I look
      forward to meeting with you and executing the new SOU once additional
      edits to the Disclosure Form, and adequate clarifications are included
      in the Authorization Form that appears on your web site for partner
      organizations are made, and when the new SOU terms are agreed upon."

      Copyright 2008 American Radio Relay League, Inc.
      All Rights Reserved

      Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole
      or in part in any form without additional permission. Credit must be
      given to The ARRL Letter/American Radio Relay League.
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