FirstNet’s Johnson Steps Down from Sonim Post
Monday, April 23, 2018 | Comments

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) Board Vice Chairman Jeff Johnson resigned from his position as a member of the board of Sonim Technologies.

Sonim announced April 19 that Johnson and two other executives had joined its board of directors.

“While he consulted with ethics officials before joining the board of Sonim and received guidance on the proper recusals, Mr. Johnson determined that FirstNet’s mission would best be served by his resignation in order to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest,” said an NTIA statement released April 21. “We thank Mr. Johnson for his service and dedication to FirstNet.”

Both FirstNet and NTIA April 20 declined to comment on whether Johnson’s position at Sonim posed a conflict of interest. The Department of Commerce Office of the General Counsel has an ethics law and programs division that outlined 2018 ethics rules for FirstNet employees. In the rules, prohibited actions called a financial conflict of interest include not working on a matter if agency action will affect a company, organization or other entity with which a employee serves on a governing board.

At press time, it was unclear if Johnson’s appointment had gone through a full Department of Commerce or NTIA legal or ethics review. Sonim has two devices certified on the FirstNet network.

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