PR Society staffers and leaders, including COO Bill Murray, have told New York chapter leaders that New York City has been ruled out as a site for a national conference because of high hotel costs.

This policy, which is music to the ears of an association dominated by non-New York members, ignores the fact that New York is by far the most popular tourist destination in the U.S. with 50 million visitors last year and the fact that the 2004 PRS conference in New York drew a record 4,000, about 1,500 more than conferences in other cities. Previous NYC conference was in 1990.

A big draw in 2004 was Donald Trump as keynote speaker.

Timothy Messer-Kruse
Trump speaks at the 2004 PRSA conference.
Murray and 2010 chair Gary McCormick, in a visit to the offices of this reporter March 19, 2010, had told us that the reason Philadelphia was picked for 2013 when it had just had the conference in 2007 was that hotels are only about $150 a night there but $300 and $400 in New York.

Yes, New York is an extra hundred or two for a Manhattan hotel but there are also many hotels in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens for less than $200 a night.

Future Sites a Secret

National staff and leaders have refused to answer questions of members about sites for the conferences after San Francisco this year and Philadelphia next year.

Normally the locations would be in the board minutes but starting last year the Society has withheld posting of the minutes on the PR website. Also not yet available are the minutes of the Assembly last Oct. 15.

New York State demands that any minutes of a government body be posted within two weeks.

Attendance records at past conferences and also remarks of former chair Judith Phair indicate that less than 4% of members go to a conference. It's $1,095 this year for a member plus travel and hotel costs.

The conference would be much less costly for attendees if the Assembly were on a Monday afternoon instead of all day Saturday. That forces up to 300 people to book hotel rooms Friday and Saturday when otherwise they could arrive on Sunday.

The out-of-town conference is popular with the 25-35 staffers who spend a week to ten days at the conference city on the tab of the Society.

New York chapter leaders have said that they have received no help from the 50+ h.q. staffers in planning a conference.

Most of the chapter board members and officers are in small or one-person PR firms and are busy in their own firms.

New York chapter members wonder why New York, instead of Philadelphia, is picked for the leadership rally each June.