FirstNet committee postpones release of first report on Fitzgerald allegations
A special review committee of FirstNet next week will report its findings on the FirstNet board’s openness and transparency practices, which were criticized in allegations leveled by FirstNet board member Paul Fitzgerald in April.
The special review committee report will be presented to the full FirstNet board during a special meeting scheduled for next Monday, Sept. 23, at 10:30 a.m. eastern time, it was announced during a brief meeting of the special review committee last Thursday—a meeting that was conducted after the committee’s meeting originally scheduled for Sept. 5 was postponed.
FirstNet board member Wellington Webb, chairman of the special review committee, said a draft report on transparency and openness has been completed, but the committee is still working to “complete our due diligence” for the report, which he expects will be released to the public after being presented to the FirstNet board.
“It’s important that we dot all the ‘i’s’ and cross all the ‘t’s,’” Webb said during the meeting.
Without giving any indication of the report’s findings, Webb provided a broad overview of its contents.
“The report analyzes three major issues: the board’s practices with respect to openness and transparency, board members’ access to information, and FirstNet’s compliance with applicable statutory meeting requirements,” he said. “In preparing the draft, the review committee and counsel have spent hundreds of hours analyzing applicable statutes, board practices and legal advice provided to the board; reviewing FirstNet bylaws, resolutions, meeting minutes, months of internal correspondence and notices to the public; and, we’ve also conducted interviews with FirstNet board members, NTIA and Department of Commerce staff and the board’s secretary.
“We look forward to presenting our report to the board next week.”
This openness-and-transparency report represents the first phase of work for the special review committee, which was created after Fitzgerald alleged in April that some FirstNet board members were acting inappropriately. Webb provided no indication when the second phase of the special review committee’s work—addressing the procurement and conflict-of-interest allegations made by Fitzgerald—would be completed, but he noted that the special review committee would not make recommendations until that phase of work is done.
“The special review committee will hold off making any recommendations to the FirstNet board until the full review is completed,” Webb said.