American Association of Information Radio Operators AAIRO

AAIRO American Association of Information Radio Operators
  annual meeting minutes - 2015  
  OPENING

Association President Bill Baker called the annual meeting to order via teleconferencing on January 23, 2015, at 3 pm EDT. Participants were based in Michigan, Florida, California and Texas.

PARTICIPANTS - All AAIRO Board Members

Bill Baker, President
Jeff Braun, Director
Linda Folland, Secretary/Treasurer
Mike Williams, Director
Jim Zoss, Vice President


OLD BUSINESS

Minutes
Participants unanimously agreed to waive reading of the last annual meeting minutes, since all members had read them before the conference call. The 2012 Annual Meeting Minutes were unanimously approved.

Treasury
Linda reported a cash balance of $448.99 in AAIRO’s account. Fiscal Year 2014 expenses included payment of $60.75 to FusionIT for web hosting. In addition, Information Station Specialists (ISS) paid $734.62 in 2014 and a total of $114,169.94 since AAIRO's founding in 2008. Mike commented that that financial statement was confusing and appeared to comingle payments made by ISS but not posted as donations. It was moved, seconded and approved that Linda reformat AAIRO financial reports showing ISS payments as donations to AAIRO that are then debited from AAIRO’s account. A copy of the revised financial statement is here linked to these minutes.

Dues
Since the last meeting, the Board had been discussing ways to fund AAIRO. Currently membership is free. Bill reported that most members are from government agencies, making it difficult for them to pay dues. Jeff confirmed that counties, for example, must follow state constitutions but that cities might have more leeway; and that this likely varies from state to state. Mike suggested adding a membership fee to the invoice of new station purchases with an option to opt out. It was moved, seconded and agreed that when licensees purchase radio stations from Information Station Specialists they be given the option of joining AAIRO for a small fee of .05-2%. Bill will check with Legal and follow through. Failing that, Jim suggested offering free membership initially then following through a year later with a dues payment request, allowing those who pay to vote and those who do not pay to remain as non-voting members.

NEW BUSINESS

Board Election
Linda reported that 42 eligible members had voted to keep the current slate of officers, who all had offered to serve again. Bill stated that the AAIRO attorneys who had helped draft the Association’s Bylaws indicated that if the Board fails to reach a quorum at membership meetings, the composition of the Board rolls over to the next annual meeting; and the current Board may continue to conduct business as usual until then. Mike suggested that the Bylaws be amended to provide for the majority of those present to be sufficient. It was, therefore, moved, seconded and agreed that Bill would look into amending the Bylaws to say “a majority of annual meeting participants is needed to accept the slate of officers, instead of a majority of members.”

Membership
Linda reported there are currently 352 members; 18 of whom have no working email on record and 26 of them have opted out of mailings. Linda will contact those who have opted out of mailings to confirm that they wish to remain members.

Professional Partnerships
Mike asked about the status of AAIRO joining other public safety associations who would have a common interest in AAIRO activities. He suggested the International Association of Emergency Managers, International Association of Chiefs of Police, International Association of Fire Chiefs, Association of Public-safety Communications Officers and the International City/County Management Association among others. It was moved, seconded and agreed that AAIRO should explore possible types of liaisons with related professional groups, 911, IAEM, etc. Joining those groups costs money, but some might wish to join AAIRO.

Funding Sources
Mike suggested that AAIRO could produce public safety announcements, sound tracks and read text for station operators for a fee. This fee would be used to support AAIRO. It was moved, seconded and agreed that Bill contact Information Station Specialists directors to explore producing public service announcements to run on members’ and partners’ websites that encourage donations to AAIRO. Benefits to members include (1) AAIRO as watchdog on TIS/FCC issues (2) the voice of AAIRO being greater than that of individual operators and (3) members receiving free audio recordings for broadcasts.

FCC Activity
Bill reported that since the last Board meeting, AAIRO had positively influenced the Federal Communications Commission by bringing the emergency aspect to the forefront, noting that AAIRO serves as a voice to the FCC and station operators, He further reported that FCC clarifications have been added that have included discussions regarding filtering for Travelers Information Service (TIS) stations – whether filters should be removed. AAIRO has already formally commented on this issue. The National Association of Broadcasts hated the idea but said, if it will be done, they would like a compromise. AAIRO can accept a compromise that the FCC doesn’t mandate that filters must be removed.

Technology News
Mike asked about new technologies that could be introduced to TIS equipment, including digital text-to-vehicle radio, much like full power broadcast stations currently provide. Bill mentioned that in Saudi Arabia, Rapid Deployment Solution automatically switches to traffic and warnings then returns to FM or a CD playing in vehicles. That capability would have been ideal for the USA had it been implemented by the FCC. He said the kind of streaming that Information Station Specialists is doing now is hosted at websites, accessible to people in buildings as well as in vehicles anywhere in the Country. For example, relatives can listen to what’s going on in hurricane areas, where they have family and friends.

Jeff asked if Bill had any contact with ALERT FM. Bill responded, “We pinged them, and they said they weren’t ready but were moving in our direction.” Jeff mentioned that Fort Bend County already had devices for the ALERT FM system, but the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) had run into a snag with the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Integrated Public Alert Warning System (IPAWS) and the State of Texas, so the EOC portion is currently in a holding pattern for now. ALERT FM is currently simulcast on sub-bands within the entire region of which County Emergency Management is just one part.” Jeff further noted, “ALERT FM has a phone app to access alerts and devices that can be purchased for homes and businesses.” The purpose: “To alert across the whole region.” He further said that the product is very popular in Louisiana and Mississippi which are completely covered. “It’s just another tool in our emergency arsenal,” he added.

Bill reported that he plans to see if ALERT FM will be issuing messages in a format that Information Station Specialists’ systems could read.

Adjournment
Bill adjourned the meeting at 3:42 pm EDT.

Minutes Submitted by
Linda Folland, Secretary.

Minutes Approved by
All board members present via email.