Sandra Fathi, president-elect of PRSA/New York and a leader of the Committee to Promote Democracy at PRSA, led a discussion of the Committee's aims for 16 minutes on an Assembly teleconference this morning.

She complained to chair Gary McCormick that the drive to obtain signatures on a petition had stalled because the Society will not give the Committee access to the e-mails of the 21,000 members.

The Committee seeks to remove accreditation as a requirement for national office, a rule that has been in place since the mid-1970s. About 19% of the Society’s members are APR.

Current signature total is 354 towards a goal of 1,000. Only two signatures have been added in August after 36 were added in July. McCormick did not make any comment about her complaint.

The August issue of Tactics has no mention of the Committee nor has it been mentioned in the online version of Tactics.

Fathi ran into heavy opposition from other delegates.

Delegates Ask Fathi for 'Proof'

Several delegates asked her if she had any proof that major PR executives were avoiding the Society or leadership posts because of the rule that only APRs can serve as national directors or officers.

She noted that the bylaw change being sought is not a criticism of APR, but only seeks to detatch APR from office-holding.

McCormick ended the APR discussion after 16 minutes, saying that it was time to "cut the discussion" and "move on" to other topics and questions, including a "white paper" on the meaning of PR being prepared by Susan Walton of Brigham Young University.

Walton was picked by the nominating committee for at-large director over African-American Regina Lewis of The Potter’s House of Dallas.

Fathi gave her presentation and answered questions from 11:22 to 11:38 when McCormick ended the discussion.

The call, which was scheduled for one hour, was ended at 11:46 when McCormick found there were no further questions from the delegates on line.

Participants were told that the session was being recorded and their participation gave the Society the right to make the recording available to
delegates and other leaders.

Rank-and-file members are not allowed access to the recording nor were they allowed to audit the teleconference.

Rank-and-File O.K. With Decoupling

Dave Rickey, chair of the 2009 bylaws re-write task force, said a survey of members in 2008 found that rank-and-file members mostly did not mind non-APRs being on the national board but that leaders were opposed to that.

The first 22 minutes of the call were taken up with housekeeping details, including description of two bylaw amendments relating to terms of offices for directors and the Code of Ethics.

An amendment will remove from the bylaws any references to “violations” because that implies that the Society would punish violators when the Code has no enforcement provisions in it, said director Bob Frause who is liaison to the Ethics board and former EB chair.