It appears that George Duffield, VE3WKJ, has quit his RAC appointed position as Section Manager – GTA following a dispute over the formation of ARES groups in Halton Region.
If true, this resignation is unfortunate, unnecessary and (at least in my opinion) definitely unwanted.
I’ve met George Duffield on several occasions and I’ve found him to be forthright, honest and devoted to the betterment of Amateur Radio and ARES in the GTA. His resignation leaves a large hole in an already struggling ARES organization here in Ontario.
The issue that is at the heart of this resignation may well have been the result of the formation of the Oakville ARES team which took place earlier this year.
The Oakville club, of which I am a director, has struggled for years with low attendance and difficulty finding affordable meeting places. In last couple of years, the current board of directors worked rather diligently (not me but them) to balance the books, attract new members and start new projects.
Their work has resulted in the OARC now meeting monthly in a Halton School Board room. Plus the books are balanced, our club insurance paid and new members are joining. We’re going to have a QRP CW transceiver build-a-thon in the new year and our D-Star repeater is up and running and our MESH system is in the works. Plus older members are returning.
This is all good stuff.
One of the more ambitious projects was to reform the Oakville ARES group as last year a couple of our regular members formed a new group in Milton called SHARES devoted to public service work in north Halton. We wished them well but missed their service as Oakville ARES members.
SHARES it appears subsequently asked George Dufflield to be made part of the ARES organization in the GTA and despite there being no incorporated club to support it (an ARES requirement I believe) George appears to have given his go ahead.
Now back here in Oakville, the Oakville ARC decided to resuscitate its ARES group and appointed an emergency coordinator (EC) and asked for official ARES recognition.
For whatever reason the GTA section emergency coordinator who approves the appointment of local ECs wasn’t as forthcoming in approving the Oakville ARES group as we in Oakville would have liked and we appealed to George Duffield.
Months went by. Emails were sent and read and more emails were sent. George Duffield and members of the board of Oakville ARC met in person to discussion our intention (which was to form our own ARES group within the Oakville). In time, our EC and the Oakville ARES group were approved and we got to work here in Oakville.
Unfortunately this wasn’t the end of the issue. Seems there was some dissension which ended with George Duffield removing the SHARES group from the GTA ARES organization. The SHARES EC George Davis was likewise removed from his position and also from the position of District Emergency Coordinator of Halton where it was to have been his job of coordinating the restructuring of the Milton, Georgetown, Oakville and Burlington ARES groups.
This is a great loss as George Davis has extensive experience as an ARES member and group leader and no one can question his dedication to public service work.
So why is this Oakville ARC and Oakville ARES’s issue?
From what I’ve been told there are some rumours floating about that SHARES was formed after some members of the Oakville club were thrown out.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Oakville ARC has never in my living memory voted out a dues paying member or refused membership dues from any candidate for membership.
It’s entirely possible that some former members may not have received an invitation to the 2014-2015 annual general meeting as you had to have paid your dues for the past year to be on the membership list.
Also, it’s not the executive’s responsibility to ensure you’ve paid your dues. And, nobody is preventing anyone from mailing in their dues and having their say and casting their vote at business sessions. To think otherwise would be at the very least delusional and at worst convenient if someone wished to create an issue where none exists.
We were looking forward to working with SHARES as we know so many of its members on a personal basis. That isn’t likely to happen now. That’s not to say something couldn’t be worked out as we should all be working for the good of Amateur Radio and not just our own purulent objectives.
To have this factious conclusion and the resignation of our Section Manager is unfortunate in the extreme and does no good for anyone involved.
This is a bad day for Amateur Radio in the GTA.