Although FCC officials publicly announced most aspects of the 700 MHz order in a variety of forums before the document was released, one notable surprise in the order was language stipulating representation on the public-safety licensee board of directors.

In the order, the FCC requires that nine organizations each have a representative on the public-safety licensee board, with two at-large members — selected jointly by the chiefs of the FCC's wireless telecommunications and public safety and homeland security bureaus — completing the 11-member board of directors.

“It's not a bad thing, I just think it was unexpected,” said Charles Werner, chief of the Charlottesville (Va.) Fire Department.

Of the nine member organizations designated by the FCC, six are participants in the Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST), a non-profit corporation established in June that wanted to be the public-safety licensee.

The PSST also had nine member organizations, but there were three differences between its members and those designated by the FCC. The FCC order requires that the International City/County Management Association, the National Emergency Number Association and the National Governors' Association be part of the board. Three PSST member organizations — the American Association of State Highways and Transportation Officials, the Forestry Conservation Communications Association and the International Municipal Signal Association — were not included in the FCC list.

PSST President Harlin McEwen said that the PSST is working to reconstitute its organization and bylaws to meet the FCC criteria.

“We will make the changes that are required [to accommodate the FCC order]. That's a given, and that is in the works,” McEwen said.

Meanwhile, the PSST had begun the selection process to hire an agent/adviser, narrowing 10 candidate firms to three finalists that were interviewed on Aug. 13. However, that process has been put on hold, McEwen said.

“We will not hire an agent until the new board is constituted, because I don't think that would be proper,” McEwen said, noting that all three finalists provided “excellent proposals with unique approaches.”

Public-Safety Licensee Board