|July 27, 2011|
|'Cronies' Discuss PRSA Dues Hike Twice Today|
|By Jack O'Dwyer|
|Assembly delegates of PR Society of America will discuss a proposed $30 dues hike today in two teleconferences. Only delegates have been invited.|
The delegates, as their record has proven, are highly loyal to national leaders and staff.
They quickly dispatched last year an attempt to allow non-APRs to run for the national board for the first time since the 1970s.
Only one of the 110 chapters openly supported this move--Los Angeles. Irene Maslowski, New York president, signed the petition but put "New Jersey" after her name. That's where her office is.
COO Bill Murray
Delegates at Assemblies can be counted on to sit numbly while leader speeches drone on and on. They readily take part in witless exercises lasting hours such as a discussion of accreditation, licensing and certifying PR skills in specialized areas.
Numerous Assemblies have been "dis-assembled"--broken up into 13 "chat groups" that meet for an hour or so and come back and report to the "Assembly."
On several occasions attempts of delegates to ask questions have been met with the advice to wait until the "Town Meeting" at the close. Then there is no town meeting.
Many of the delegates are fresh from the June weekend in New York where each got at least $750 in meals and cash from national for the "Leadership Rally" that is really a "Loyalty Rally."
Chair Rosanna Fiske, president/COO Bill Murray, and other leaders should be facing chapter members in person rather than hiding behind the bought-and-sold delegates who are apt to give them no guff.
There are no provisions in this dues debate for leaders ever to face the rank-and-file, repeating the technique that was used for the bylaws re-write in 2009 and the move to allow non-APRs on the board in 2010.
Questions by delegates today are apt to be timid and non-confrontational.
But more than timidity is at work here. What's involved is a conspiracy against the rank-and-file members who face new national dues of $255 a year when better than 90% of what a member gets out of the Society is at the chapter level.
What national leaders and staff do is rent out use of "Public Relations Society of America" for an exorbitant sum.
Chapter members could meet on their own but wouldn't be able to put those soaring words on their resumes or in new biz pitches.
First Order of Biz: Can Murray
Delegates, if they truly want to represent their chapter members, should insist on non-renewal of any contract for Murray.
He is in violation of the Code of Ethics of the Society which the Society itself (director of PR director Keith Trivitt) says forbids "blacklisting" or "blackballing" of a news medium or a reporter.
Murray spent an hour in our office March 19, 2010, telling us the Society "chooses" not to deal with us for reasons that were not spelled out. Even if they were, it's no grounds for blanket refusal to have anything to do with us.
Murray, although holding the title of president with pay/fringes of $373K in 2009 (latest info available), is rarely seen. He has not addressed the New York chapter in 4.5 years. Why isn't he all over the airwaves talking about the Murdoch hacking scandal?
Fraser Seitel and Mike Paul are the broadcast spokespeople for the industry.
Murray won't even tell members what his 2010-11 contract provides, hiding behind a loophole that lets IRS Form 990 be filed late in the year.
We doubt any of the delegates today will ask if Murray has a new contract. The executive committee has the power to give it to him.
Fake Financial Report
Delegates today should also take up the topic of the audit by PKF/New York.
It's a pile of numbers shorn of meaning.
It's worse than no report at all because it creates an illusion that members are getting a full report of how the Society spends its money.
Members know little because they haven't been able to work at h.q. since shortly after 1980 when the APRs took full control and ousted all the PR pros.
Only the most loyal-to-staff PR pros are allowed as h.q. employees.
No amount of financial reports can substitute for on-the-spot monitoring of a staff or business every workday of the year. Somebody's belly has got to be behind the counter.
For instance, for most of the 1990s, auditors accepted that only about $50,000 a year was spent on staff time for the annual conference. Actual cost was upwards of more than a million.
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