PR Society of America chair Gary McCormick will be given the questions below by a local freelancer after he speaks at the Georgia chapter of the Society at 11:45 a.m. today in Atlanta.
He has agreed to meet with the freelancer and answer questions following a presentation he is making titled, "How America's Leading Home Improvement Network Grows Brands, Creates Value and Expands Reach Through Partnership Development."
McCormick is director of partnership Development for the HGTV unit of Scripps Networks Interactive, a spin-off of the profitable cable shows of Scripps from the unprofitable newspaper part of the company.
HGTV sells programming to local stations who in turn sell commercial minutes on the programs.
Scripps and Cablevision of New York got into a big battle in the first three weeks in January when Cablevision accused Scripps of hiking its fees to unconscionable levels and ďmaking dramatic changesĒ in the way it dealt with distributors. A settlement was reach Jan. 22 but details were not provided.
Questions for McCormick
1. Do you have any comment on the results for the first six years of the new computer APR test which show participation by members of PRSA has declined at least 50% from two previous six-year periods.
This seems particularly relevant because the Committee for a Democratic PRSA is trying to end the ban on non-APRs in the national board which has been in force since about 1975. Your board says it does not take a stand on this issue. Board member Don Kirchoffner, however, has signed the petition along with nearly 350 others.
2. Four Fellows including a Gold Anvil winner want to know why the list of 2010 Assembly delegates is not on the Society website. They were elected as of Jan. 1, according to the bylaws. Only delegates were allowed to see the list last year and that was not made available until two weeks before the Assembly. Why does PRSA have a ďsecretĒ Assembly? Even if the delegates are not sure they are going to the Assembly, donít they have the responsibility of their office all year long?
3. When will the financial report for the second quarter be given? Society revenues were down 14% in 2009 and 10% in the first quarter.
4. When will you file IRS Form 990? It was originally due May 15 with a delay to Aug. 15 or Nov. 15 also possible. You filed it last October for 2008 and the Assembly never got to see it. Why does this filing take so long when your audit for 2009 was filed months ago? The Georgia chapter filed its 990 for 2009 on Feb. 6.
5. You have spoken to six chapters but only one of them is in the top 20óHoosier, based in Indianapolis with about 400 members and 15th largest. You seem to be avoiding the big chapters and especially New York, the biggest single city chapter with at least 900 members in its area and at least 10,000 PR and IR pros in its area. Why havenít either you or Bill Murray, now in office three and a half years, addressed the New York chapter and New York PR community?
6. The Society professes in its bylaws to be governed by Robertís Rules of Order but its Assembly breaks at least five of the most basic rules in RobertísĒ:
a: Voting by proxy is completely forbidden and a section in Robertís says that adoption of Robertís should satisfy any demand for a specific rule against proxies (which is the case with NY State where the Society is chartered). PRSA ignores this part of Robertís and made proxies permissible last year.
b. A revision of the bylaws, which the Assembly conducted last year, must include discussion of all articles in the new bylaws, says Robertís. Only a few articles were put to the Assembly last year in violation of this rule.
c. Robertís says on page 9 that ďthe board within an organization is an instrumentality of the societyís full assembly to which it is subordinate.Ē This is true for the American Medical Assn., American Bar Assn., AICPA, and American Psychologists Assn. but not for PRSA which makes the board the ultimate authority. An attempt to overturn this in 2006 was defeated with no other chapter supporting Central Michigan.
d. The minutes of a meeting are supposed to include any action taken that that includes any tabulated votes. The Society refuses to provide a list of the tabulated votes at the 2009 Assembly which were flashed on screens.
e. Robertís advises that if a revision is undertaken, it should not be done at a regular meeting but at a series of special meetings. The Society ignored this advice.
Robert's Rules are Only 'Advice'
Since the Society cites Robertís as its authority but breaks many of its rules, experts in Robertís were asked if anything could be done about this.
Their reply was that Robertís Rules are not actually rules but only suggestions and advice and are not enforced by anyone but the group using or mis-using them.
There is no penalty for such abuse except criticism by members of the group and ouster of leaders committing such abuses.