|June 11, 2010|
|Participation Sparse at PRSA 'Leader' Calls|
|By Jack O'Dwyer|
|The PR Society held its first "Assembly Delegate Conference Calls" yesterday at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.|
The Assembly re-named itself the "Leadership Assembly" last year and is supposed to give "advice" to the board during the year on matters of importance to the membership.
Attendance and questions were so light that the calls, scheduled for one-hour each, were ended after a half hour when chair Gary McCormick found that questions from participants had ceased.
There were a half dozen questions on the morning call and only one on the afternoon call — by delegate and national board member Blake Lewis of Richardson, Texas. He is a former chair of the Universal Accreditation Board.
Most of the questions were about procedural matters such as how delegates were supposed to collect views of members.
Delegates who listened to the calls on recordings that were provided today said that about 30 delegates were on the morning call and nine on the afternoon call.
'Democratic' Petition Not Mentioned
Although the calls are supposed to reflect what rank-and-file members are concerned with, no one mentioned the "Committee for a Democratic PRSA" which on Monday circulated an e-mail petition to the 21,000 members of the Society.
The CDP wants to remove from the bylaws the provision that only accredited members can serve on the national board. It says this unfairly and undemocratically bars more than 80% of the members from running for national office. The rule has been in effect since about 1975.
McCormick has said the board will not take a position on the matter and will consider it along with other proposals when the Assembly meets Oct. 16 in Washington, D.C.
McCormick at the start of each call noted that Assembly delegates could only "advise" the board what to do.
Society lawyers have pointed out that under current bylaws the supreme governing powers are in the hands of the board.
An attempt to give the Assembly power over the board, modeled after the bylaws of the American Bar Assn. and American Medical Assn., was defeated in 2006.
As of noon today, one month after the petition was first posted, the CDP had collected 288 "signatures" towards its goal of 5,000. This includes several dozen who did not provide their names.
The Detroit chapter has e-mailed its 350 members a "poll" asking them if they are APR, why they are not APR, whether they plan to obtain an APR and whether they think APR should be required for national office.
Chapter president Rich Donley said the survey is not a vote that would be binding on chapter delegates.
None of the 110 chapters is known to be conducting such a vote which members of the CDP say is proof of how undemocratic the Society is.
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