The Houston chapter of the PR Society, ninth biggest with 450 members and which led an abortive move in 1985 to shift all or most of PRS’s offices from New York to a less expensive city, has posted on its website 15 questions that national leaders thus far have refused to answer.
Houston chapter members may vote on whether to send the questions to national.
E-mails by this website to chapter president Ed Davis have been posted on the site, including links to stories that discuss the cost of staying in New York.
Society staff pay/benefits reached $5.5 million in 2010 or 52.5% of revenues of $10.5M. Payroll costs were $1,027,652 in 1987 or 29.1% of revenues of $4,830,580. Occupancy costs went from $352,750 in 1992 to $738,076 in 2010. Staying in New York since 1987, when the lease at 845 Third ave. expired, has cost the Society at least $50 million assuming pay/rent savings of $2M yearly for 25 years by being in Houston or six other locations that vied for the offices (at the invitation of national).
Houston withheld its dues in January 1985 to protest skimpy answers coming from 1985 president Dave Ferguson.
Margot, Lisa Dimond
Twenty-five chapter members including the entire board headed by Margot Dimond, sent the national board in August 1985 a demand that any relocation decision be made by the Assembly.
The national board not only ignored the petition but permanently cut the Assembly in half by canceling the Spring Assembly, claiming it was too costly. In its place is the $140,000 June weekend-in-New York meeting for 134 chapter, section and district heads called “The Leadership Rally.” Participants receive $550 each from national. All proceedings are off-the-record.
Lisa Dimond Vasquez, the daughter of Margot, is currently president-elect of the chapter which is headed by Davis, general manager of Fifth Ring PR.
Lisa was a radio/TV journalist for 11 years beginning in Abilene, Texas, and moving to New Orleans and then Baton Rouge where she covered the state legislature for the Louisiana Network. She also worked for KTRH-AM Radio which fed the AP and CBS and ABC radio networks. She then was chief of staff for two Houston City Council members and a Congresswoman.
Q’s Ask for Transcripts, Board Minutes, Etc.
The questions that Houston chapter members are considering asking national seek the minutes of the four 2011 board meetings and the 2011 Assembly; the speaking schedule of 2012 chair Gerry Corbett; transcript of the 2011 Assembly that was barred to reporters; publication of the national list of Assembly delegates; complete list of the 50+ h.q. staff (only seven are currently listed); terms of the three-year contract for COO Bill Murray that began in January, 2012; resumption of the single list of 2012 chapter presidents (visits to 111 chapters are required now to create such a list); identification of the five at-large national directors on the Society website, and the question of why aren’t reporters allowed to join the Society when every press club allows PR people as members.
Some Houston members say the slogan of the chapter today could be “Remember Houston 1985” the way that Texans and all Americans “Remember the Alamo” (when more than 200 Texans died in 1836 defending the Alamo against an attack by 1,500 Mexicans who were trying to take back Texas from the U.S.).