Since America is the land where candidates for office normally answer questions of the press, the following questions have been e-mailed to the current slate of candidates for national board and officer posts of PR Society of America.

Hello Candidate:

You are seeking a board position at PR Society of America.

Candidates will be informed if they are nominated on Aug. 4. Opponents can file petitions until Sept. 26, which is 30 days before the election Oct. 26 in Philadelphia.

Members and their Assembly delegates need to know where you stand on key issues in order to decide whether to back possible alternative candidates who might take stands on the issues below.

Please tell us where you stand on the following issues facing the Society.

--Non-Accredited members should be allowed to run for national board and officer posts. This has been forbidden since the 1970s although currently only 18% of members are APR and new APRs are coming in at a rate that for the past ten years is half the rate for the previous ten.

(    ) Yes     (    ) No

--Reporters should be allowed to join PRSA and have full access to financial reports. PR people are allowed to join all press clubs in the U.S. and IABC allows reporter members. The press needs financial information in order to report fully and accurately on the Society.

(    ) Yes      (    ) No

--The Society should post its annual report and IRS Form 990 on its website early in the year but no later than May 31 each year. This practice is recommended by the Independent Sector (500+ non-profits).

(   )  Yes      (    ) No

--The Assembly should have downloadable, full copies of the 990 weeks before it meets. The 990 has not been made available until after the Assembly for the past three years.

(   )  Yes      (    ) No

--The Society, with nearly $5 million in cash and investments, should open a midtown New York facility for use by members, prospective member and the press. The New York chapter meets in various midtown bars since the downtown location of h.q. makes it too inconvenient to use.

(    ) Yes     (    ) No

--The Society should provide an online directory of members that duplicates the former printed directory which was cancelled as of 2005. Reasons given were costs of printing, paper and postage. However, a PDF would shift all these costs to users. The PDF could easily be kept 100% up-to-date, another argument used against the printed directory.

(    ) Yes     (    ) No

--The list of national board members and officers on the Society website should show their actual e-mail addresses, the full address of the officer or board member, and state which directors represent which districts. 

(    ) Yes     (    ) No

--A list of all staff members including their titles, phones and e-mails should again appear on the Society website. Only seven names currently appear. For many decades, until recently, members were able to see who all the staffers were and get to know them.

(    ) Yes     (    ) No

--No member should have his or her access to the Society website cancelled without a full hearing and a chance to rebut any charges against the member. Currently, a member is being deprived of web access. Attempts to gain an explanation from COO Bill Murray or other staffers have gone nowhere.

(    ) Yes     (    ) No

--The Assembly should elect its own officers just like lawyer, medical and accounting groups do and conduct its own meeting. Allowing staff and officers to monopolize the morning session with speeches followed by breaking up the Assembly into pieces for much of the afternoon should stop.

(    ) Yes     (    ) No

--Non-APR members should be allowed to serve on the Board of Ethics and Professional Development. Only APRs may serve which implies that non-APRs are not as ethical as APRs.

(    ) Yes     (    ) No

Barbour, Lewis
Barbour, Lewis
--The nominating committee should reflect the APR/non-APR proportion of members. The 2013 nomcom had 16 APRs and two non-APRs when the proportions should be reversed to reflect the 18% of members who are APR.

(    ) Yes     (    ) No

Candidates listed

Counselor Blake Lewis of Dallas and Kathy Barbour of Baptist Health South Florida are running for chair-elect; Mark McClennan of Schwartz MSL is unopposed for treasurer; counselor Jane Dvorak of Lakewood, Colo., and Prof. Deborah Silverman of SUNY Buffalo State are running for secretary; counselor Brian Lee of Madison, Wis., is unopposed for Midwest director; counselor Ronele Dotson of Reno is unopposed for North Pacific; counselors Bonnie Upright of Orange Park, Fla., Elizabeth Smith of York, Pa., and Kathleen Rennie of Union, N.J., are running for at-large directorships since the nomcom could not find anyone to run for the Southwest and Southeast districts.