The Universal Accreditation Board, in refusing to enforce its usage guidelines that forbid APRs from using APR in any sort of competitive way, has destructed its own self.

Michael McDougall of Bausch & Lomb has correctly noted that PRSA board members are using APR for competitive purposes by eliminating as competition for board seats the more than 16,000 members who are not APR.

ann dubois
The rebuttal of UAB chair Anne Dubois that “competition” only refers to “jobs” does not cut it.

Society members compete strenuously not only for board seats but especially the officer positions which they feel pay richly in terms of publicity and prestige. Directors have Society expense accounts and can travel to promote themselves or their firms on the Society’s nickel. The chair has a very hefty expense account.

Who knows where working for the Society or working for oneself ends or begins?

Logically, the 17 directors should have their APRs removed from them and thus they could no longer be directors since the bylaws require APR for directors. An entire new board of non-APRs is needed.

“An individual can have APR revoked for improper use per these usage guidelines,” says the UAB website.

UAB Is a Paper Tiger

The UAB, in refusing to enforce its guidelines or even take press questions on them, has shown itself to be a sham. It has 19 directors but ten of them are from the PR Society meaning there is little likelihood the board will take any action against the Society’s national board.

Efforts to interest any of the nine UAB non-PRS directors in the matter have failed.

Those ducking questions include “public member ex-officio liaison” Kevin Murphy of KJM Assocs. Int’l, Westfield, N.J. He has the initials PHR after his name meaning “Professional in Human Resources.”

“Public” to us means that he represents the public on the UAB and should be talking to us. We take the word “public” very seriously. Besides his business, he teaches at Fairleigh Dickinson University and Pace University.

Others unresponsive to phone calls or e-mails include John Forde, Ph.D., head of the Communication Dept. at Mississippi University, representing the Southern PR Federation, and Prof. Edward Moore of Rowan University, Glassboro, N.J., representing the National School PR Assn.

Florida PR Assn. Does Not Respond

Also unresponsive is Christopher Carroll of KSC PR, Sarasota, representing the Florida PR Assn., second most active member of the UAB.

It has seen 75 of its members become APR in the past six years. During that period, 904 members of the PR Society became APR.

Others whose voicemails say they are away for the next few days and unreachable are Brian Gray, editor at the National Catholic Education Assn., representing the Religion Communicators Council, and Marilyn Pippin of Hopkins & Assocs., Dallas, representing the Texas PR Assn.

National Capital Undecided

Brigitte Johnson of the American Forest Foundation, president-elect of the National Capital Chapter, biggest with 1,350 members in its area and 14 Assembly delegates, said the chapter has not yet made up its mind on how to vote on the APR amendment.

Ghannam, Johnson
Jeff Ghannam, chapter president, could not be reached. The Biotechnology Institute, which had employed him, said he left the Institute recently as part of a staff reduction.

Johnson said a chapter board teleconference will take place next week on the APR proposal. She noted that the chapter’s Assembly delegates usually vote as a block.

She was not aware of the existence of the Committee for a Democratic PRSA, which has obtained more than 450 signatures on a petition backing adoption of a new bylaw that would allow non-APRs on the board as long as they had 20 or more years in PR posts with increasing responsibility. There is a public record of 305 of the signatures. The other signatures will be given only to the Assembly.

A group of APRs now wants to add that such candidates must be either APR or show a record of volunteer activities.

Parliamentarian Colette Trohan says any change in the bylaw amendment would violate Robert’s Rules of Order and advised that a change would have to wait until next year.

Ditch Robert’s Rules and Parliamentarian

The 704-page Robert’s Rules, which date back to 1876, are sand in the machinery of Society governance. Even reading one page of this book is enough to make one dizzy. Thousands and thousands of rules are piled on top of one another and reading tea leaves would be simpler.

The Rules, invented long before there were telephones much less the Internet, are meant for 200 years ago.

A meeting today can be audiocast and any delegate not present can call up someone holding the proxy and tell him or her how to vote.

The “rights” of those not present, a major concern of Robert’s, disappear because everyone involved can be present no matter where they are.
PRS, which ardently wishes for “more member involvement,” should have been audiocasting the Assembly years ago.

Leaders have done everything they can this year to block members from knowing about the Committee for a Democratic PRSA including denying the Committee use of the 21,000 e-mail list.

Worst of all about Robert’s is the selective use of the “Rules” by leaders. The Assembly is in violation of five major Rules including use of proxies but leaders now insist that the APR amendment can’t be changed and must be pushed to next year because any change would be outside the “scope” of the amendment.

That is a qualitative judgment that only the delegates themselves can make and not a parliamentarian.

We advise the Assembly to suspend RR since it’s already violating so many major parts of it and let the majority rule.

There should be no parliamentarian unless the delegates have their own parliamentarian. This is the advice given by parliamentarians when there are two opposed factions at a meeting as there are now.

But the only thing worse than one parliamentarian is two of them so we don’t advise that, either. The delegates should have a lawyer in the audience.

If they have any guts at all, they’ll wrest control of the meeting at 8 a.m. from the board and let one of their own run it. Delegates who want to speak should be able to mount the stage and address fellow delegates and not the board.

It’s about time the Assembly stopped being a doormat to the board and staff.

Delegates are again letting board/staff get away with not revealing IRS Form 990 for 2009 which has the pay/benefits of the top six staffers, legal expenses, perhaps the expenses of Trohan last year, and stock trades among much other information not available in the audit which was published in April.

It shouldn’t take the staff five months to prepare the 990 once the audit is done.