Anne Dubois, of Dubois Betourne & Assocs., Palm Coast, Fla., who is chair of the Universal Accreditation Board and also a PRSA Assembly delegate, denied in an e-group today that APR members who block non-APRs from running for national office are in violation of UAB guidelines.

The guidelines, which are on the UAB website say that the APR designation is not to be used for competitive purposes and that, "An individual can have APR revoked for improper usage per these usage guidelines."

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The wording on the UAB website is that APRs "cannot imply the lack of APR in any way affects a competing professional's competence."

Critics of PRSA governance and the monopoly APRs have had on board posts for more than 30 years say that all 17 directors should have their APRs removed because they have blocked the 80% of fellow members who are non-APR from competing for posts on the board.

Critics say the words "in any way" leave no wiggle room.

Michael McDougall, VP-CC of Bausch & Lomb, had noted the UAB's stand and another delegate had noted that a PRSA advisory of July 2009 had warned against "inflated resumes, credentials and documentation."

Society delegates in the e-group who oppose non-APRs on the board have said numerous times that holders of APRs have shown more "commitment" to the Society and industry and have earned a "mark of distinction."

Dubois Cites 'True Context'

Disagreeing with McDougall is Dubois, who had posted in the e-group Sept. 2 that "Accreditation is a mark of distinction. Why wouldn't we insist that our board members carry that distinction? No argument presented herein answers that question satisfactorily."

Her comment on Sept. 2 appeared to break the UAB role against interfering in the governance of a member group.

However, she said she was speaking only as an Assembly delegate and not at all as UAB chair.

She also advised in the e-mail, "Let's move on."

Dubois said today that McDougall is incorrectly interpreting what is on the UAB website.

She said he had taken out of context the sentence, "Members who are Accredited cannot imply the lack of Accreditation in any way affects a competing professionalís competence."

She said the paragraph is "intended to guide Accredited members in their use of the mark in settings where they may be competing for work or hire. The intent of this information is to encourage fair, professional and courteous behaviors in seeking work or hire. Please note that this guidance is contained on the website but is not an official policy statement carried in the UAB Policy."

She further said today: "The statement under question in its true context is specific only to competing for work or for hire, and not relevant to the ongoing debate about the Accreditation requirement for service on the PRSA national board."

Some See Relevance

Some senior Society members, considering the stand of Dubois, said that UAB guidance could just as easily apply to "office-seeking" as it does to "seeking work or hire."

Those seeking the perceived prestige of PR Society national office have eliminated 80% of their competition with the APR rule, said the seniors.

Attaining the chair of the Society carries with it a significant expense account as well as the prestige of the position, they add.

Move to Table APR Change

Some delegates are now saying that the APR change, which has generated an extensive and heated argument in the e-group (that regular members are not allowed to see), should be tabled until next year.

Mark McLennan of Schwartz Communications says that because of the way that the APR amendment is written "no amendments to the proposed amendment will be allowed."

Some have suggested changes that are too substantive and which are barred by Robert's Rules of Order (pages 575-577), he said.

This perplexed some members of the Society who point out that the Society, while citing Robertís as its "parliamentary authority," is in violation of five major Robert's Rules.

They are rules that say an assembly must sit over a board; proxy votes are forbidden; tabulated votes must be in the minutes; all articles in a revision must be brought before an assembly, and a revision should not be conducted at a regular annual meeting but only at a series of special meetings.