|August 23, 2010|
|Weak Case, Illogic Mar PRSA Democratic Drive|
|By Jack O'Dwyer|
|Art Stevens, Monty Hagler and Sandra Fathi, representing the Committee to Promote Democracy at PRSA, were hammered in two Assembly delegate conference calls Aug. 18.|
Delegates demolished their argument that removing APR as a board requirement does not somehow diminish the value of APR.
The delegates expressed impatience that the APR issue was again being brought up after it was defeated last year.
Chair Gary McCormick said debate on it could be cut short by the delegates themselves. That will almost certainly happen unless the CPDP takes a new tack. Central Michigan got only ten minutes at the 2006 Assembly when it tried to make the board report to the Assembly. None of the other 109 chapters supported it.
As of now, only two chapters are supporting the CPDP (N.Y. and L.A.). Only 354 signatures have been obtained in four months toward the goal of 1,000 and they have slowed to a near halt.
Shut Up and Take the Test
Stevens held up Richard Edelman as an example of an executive who is “so far along in his career he has no need to prove something by becoming APR.”
But a delegate from New Zealand countered that Edelman could set a great example for members by becoming APR. Delegate after delegate flung this argument at Stevens, Hagler and Fathi.
Bryan Campbell of the Jacksonville, North Florida chapter said he was “very upset” that the issue was being revisited so soon and said it was “ludicrous” for a “chapter secretary” to be eligible for the national board without being APR.
Members who are not APR have not shown the “commitment” needed for national service in terms of time and money, he said.
“You cannot separate the two,” he said in response to Hagler and Stevens who repeatedly said they value APR as the “hallmark of PR professionalism” but feel it nevertheless should be separated from governance.
Also speaking against non-APRs on the board were Steve Lubetkin, former national director; Cynthia Sharpe, Tampa Bay chapter; Bonnie Upright, North Florida chapter; Barbara Burfeind of National Capital, and Mark McClennan of Boston.
Burfeind wanted to know if there was any investigation into having a special test or “grandfathering” as a means of creating APRs without forcing candidates to go through the normal APR process in order to “make this less of an issue.”
Hagler replied that the object is to separate APR from governance. Stevens said more than 16,000 members are non-APR and might want to serve.
McClennan said the subject was debated last year and wanted to know “the rationale” for bringing it up again.
Hagler replied that the Assembly was mostly preoccupied with the bylaws re-write and that more focus could be put on the issue this year.
Why Has APR Been Ignored So Long?
The only delegate questioning the primacy of APR was “Mary” from San Diego, who wondered why APR has made so little progress among the members even though it has been around “for more than 20 years.”
Editor’s Note: APR was created in 1964 by the Society after it was suggested by Pride & Alarm, private New York PR group.
A delegate answered that it was the fault of individual members if they did not take the test.
“APR is open to anyone from the day they join” and such members do not deserve to be national leaders “if they can’t find three hours to get to a Prometric Center and take the test,” said the delegate.
Stevens countered by saying that while APR is a “professional hallmark,”executives such as Richard Edelman “have nothing to prove.”
Appeasement Has Failed
The CPDP ran into stiff opposition in April when it proposed dropping the APR rule but not applying other barriers such as demanding that candidates have 20 years in PR “with increasing levels of responsibility.”
Bowing to the APRs, CPDP then proposed the exact wording that was defeated last year by a vote of 142-111 when 72% of the delegates were APR. That measure carried the 20-year rule.
With more than a month and a half left before the Oct. 16 Assembly, the CPDP must bring out the heavy guns and stress the Achilles heal of the APRs—their undemocratic, anti-press, unethical, unprofessional, anti-New York, anti-PR, hypocritical, inconsistent and even loopy behavior.
APRs and only APRs are to blame for all the above.
They are refusing, as usual, to allow rank-and-file members to see the list of 2010 delegates. They are refusing to audiocast the 2010 Assembly or provide a transcript. They won’t give the CPDP access to member e-mails or cover the CPDP in Tactics online or in print.
APR candidates, as usual, are in hiding from the members and press.
Corbett Ducks Members, Press
Chair-elect candidate Gerry Corbett is refusing to answer questions by
us or four Fellows until after the Assembly because his “priority is getting my children in their new schools.”
Indefensible is the Jeff Julin nomcom’s selection of Susan Walton of Brigham Young University as at-large director over African-American Regina Lewis of The Potter’s House of Dallas.
Walton only joined the Society on Nov. 10, 2004 whereas Lewis has been a member since 1992.
Walton is an associate PR professor while Lewis is chief communications officer for Potter’s House, a “mega-church.”
For the fourth year in a row the board would have no African-Americans on it if the nomcom gets it way.
BYU’s students are nearly 100% Mormons who have a very controversial history with blacks. After much criticism, the church’s negative attitude towards blacks was changed in 1978.
The APRs from 1980 to 1994 sold hundreds of thousands of copies of authors’ materials without their permission even though the Code says members must “preserve intellectual property rights in the marketplace.”
They wouldn’t speak to the authors, pay them a nickel or even offer free ads for their books.
They allowed hundreds of Silver Anvil entries to be tossed in the 1980s for minor rule infractions (while keeping the entry fees).
Their ruinous devotion to the bogus APR credential has resulted in membership being around 20,000, a little above where it was in 1998 (19,600). http://www.repmanblog.com/repman/2009/07/useless-useless.html
APR subsidies cost the Society $2,926,080 from 1986-2002 (link, sub req'd).
They can’t obey the most basic of Robert’s Rules which bar proxy voting and demand that any votes taken at a meeting be reflected in the minutes.
They broke Robert’s basic rule about bylaw revisions—that all articles be brought before the voting body.
They break year after year accounting’s No. 1 rule—money is not booked until earned. They book a year’s dues as cash, providing misleading balance sheets.
They have picked Philadelphia twice for the national conference (2007 and 2013) while ignoring New York, where the Society had its biggest conference ever in 2004.
They created the “Business Case for PR” but neither president Bill Murray nor VP-PR Arthur Yann are out promoting this to business groups in New York or elsewhere.
IRS Form 990, showing the salaries of the top six staffers at the Society in 2009, is still unavailable. It was due May 15 and then Aug. 15 but can be put off till Nov. 15.
Calling PR Pros: Definition of PR Needed
The Aug. 18 Assembly teleconferences of PRS included a plea by chair McCormick for members to e-mail their definition of PR to at-large director candidate Susan Walton of Brigham Young University who is preparing a “white paper” for discussion at the Assembly Oct. 16.
This bottomless topic will serve as fodder to distract the delegates from the incendiary topic of reducing the monopoly the APRs have on governance.
Walton, who was on the call, gave her e-mail address as susan_walton [at] byu.edu.
Since the Society says it speaks for all PR pros, we urge readers to send in their definitions and hopes for PR to Walton and to us. (firstname.lastname@example.org). Readers may withhold their names or not because the Society has sharp claws when it comes to any members who deal with the press.
One reason Lewis lost her bid to be a director is that she was one of six of 19 candidates who answered questions sent to them by three Society Fellows and us.
She gave the most and best answers including support for non-APRs on the board, audiocasting the Assembly and providing transcripts of it, dropping the print editions of Tactics and Strategist for PDFs, adding PR pros to h.q. staff, and restoring the single list of the 110 chapter presidents.
No wonder she was rejected!
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