|July 19, 2010|
|65 Bigs Sign to Depose APRs|
|By Jack O'Dwyer|
|The Committee for a Democratic PRSA, which wants to end the 35-year rule of the Society by the small minority of accredited members, has won the en masse backing of 65 PR executives.|
The 325 signatures on its petition now include those of nine PR professors and eight Fellows. Also significant is that a sitting board member, Don Kirchoffner, has broken ranks with the board to sign the petition.
Board members are usually 100% loyal to any stand of the majority of the board and even sign a promise at the first board meeting not to break ranks.
Kirchoffner, a Fellow, pictured at left, is a former PA director of the U.S. Army and a member of its PR Hall of Fame. He has often said he has never ducked a press call.
Such signatures will give a lot of momentum to the Committee’s drive although it still can’t loosen national’s grip on the chapters.
McCormick, Murray at PRSA/Georgia Thursday
Chair Gary McCormick and COO Bill Murray are speaking Thursday to the Georgia chapter and we are calling on McCormick to can his commercial for HGTV (“the leading home and lifestyle cable network”) and instead take questions on the revolt against the APRs.
McCormick’s public stance is that the board is neutral on the revolt but his and the board’s actions belie that.
The board won’t let the committee headed by Richard Edelman, Art Stevens and Dave Rickey use the 21,000 e-mail list of members.
It won’t allow any coverage by Tactics either online or in print of the Committee for a Democratic PRSA.
It has buried the subject on its little-used PRSAY blog. The last mentions of the Committee were in mid-May.
The Fellows have sent 14 questions to the candidates and that is what needs discussing.
First among them is where is the list of Assembly delegates who were elected as of Jan. 1, 2010. No legislature in the world, down to and including Cub Scout packs, has a secret governing body.
Chapters Controlled by H.Q.
Chapters remain under tight control of the board and staff. Only one of the 110 chapters—Los Angeles—has yet to side with the Committee.
Grunig is the author of several books and is the creator with his wife Larissa of the “symmetrical” theory of PR which says communicators must do something in return if they want audiences to do something.
Also joining in the reform movement is Frank Ovaitt, former president/CEO of the Institute and now an SVP with Makovsky + Co. Also signing was CEO Ken Makovsky.
Eight Fellows of the Society besides Kirchoffner are now pushing for ouster of the APRs—Ed Block (1997 Gold Anvil winner), Kathy Lewton (2001 president), Kirk Hallahan, Larry Foster, Bruce Harrison, Richard Newman, Nann Miller and Richard Tyler.
Eight PR Profs Sign
Other PR professors besides Grunig and Hallahan signing are Don Stacks of the University of Miami; Elliott Schreiber, Drexel University; Kathy Fitzpatrick, Quinnipiac University; Irv Schenkler, New York University; Clark Caywood, Northwestern University; Robert French, Auburn, and Robert Petrausch, Iona.
Other signers include:
--Mary Lynn Cusick, SVP of Bob Evans Farms and 1998 president of PRSA
--Gary Sheffer, executive director, corporate communications and PR, General Electric
--Mark Hass, president, Edelman China and former CEO, Manning, Selvage & Lee
--Michael Kempner, president and CEO, MWW Group
--Amy Binder, CEO, RF Binder Partners
--Adele Ambrose, VP and chief communications officer, Merck & Co.
--Carol Cone of Edelman, formerly CEO of Cone
--Carol Schumacher, VP-IR, Wal-Mart Stores
--Ray Crockett, Coca-Cola, (senior counsel, 2007 board)
--Mike Holoweiko, Central Michigan chapter
--David Samson, general manager, PA, Chevron Corp.
--Ronald Culp, managing director, Ketchum Midwest and former VP-PA, Sears, Roebuck and Co.
--Elise Eberwein, SVP-CC, USAirways
--Chris Hosford, executive dir., CC, Hyundai Motor America
--Daniel Collins, VP-CC, Corning International
--Donna Peterman, CCO, PNC Financial Services
--Brian Levine, VP-CC, Office Depot
--Bill Imada, IW Group, Asian market PR specialist
Crucial Board Meeting Friday in Atlanta
The board of the Society skipped its spring meeting for the first time ever.
We know boards never skipped this meeting because for many years it met at resorts or resort cities such as Carmel, Vancouver, Lake Tahoe (for skiing), San Antonio (golf), Santa Fe (twice because of the art/music festival), Montreal and even London (entire board in 2000 for a four-day visit).
Following a loss of $1.1 million reported for 2000-2001, the board stopped such excesses.
We don’t want a repeat of what happened on Sept. 24 last year when 2009 chair Mike Cherenson spoke to the E. Lansing, Mich., chapter for 57 straight minutes before he allowed a couple of minutes of questions.
The hot topic then was the bylaws revision on which thousands of hours of volunteer and staff time had been spent.
We don’t want a commercial for HGTV which is the reason McCormick returned to the board after resigning from it in 2006. Scripps wanted him to publicize the cable channel’s offerings.
McCormick initially promised some new ideas including naming African-Americans and reporters to the Strategic
Planning Committee he headed last year.
The board squashed that plan and McCormick caved.
His motives were clear at the Assembly last year when he spent 17 minutes describing plans for the Society at the start of the meeting when numerous Assemblies had demanded a halt to such time-wasting speeches that should have been given in advance in hard copy or e-mail.
This was a horrific waste of time when the Assembly had a huge pile of work on its desk—a complete re-write of the bylaws.
Leaders including McCormick wasted the first hour and a half of the session and then another hour and 45 minutes for a lunch break.
Only a few articles of the revision were considered in defiance with one of the bedrock rules of Robert’s—that all articles in a revision must be put to the governing body.
Major PR executives and figures, including many leading educators, are pressing the board for reform.
We hope it will listen to them and vote removal of the APR barrier at the earliest possible time so that free and open elections can take place this summer for the first time in more than 35 years.
Only ten days’ notice is needed for an Assembly that could use proxies to wash away this stain on the Society.
The paperwork can easily be handled if the board puts its mind to this issue and stops running from it.
Return to Latest News