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Jack O'Dwyer is editor-in-chief of the J.R. O'Dwyer publications. He can be reached at at jack@

April 23, 2004

The PRSA board, meeting today in Jacksonville, Fla., hometown of president Del Galloway, should vote to bar any officers and directors from putting any heat on the nominating committee this year.

Last year's nomcom was battered by officers and booted off three of PRSA's best leaders.

The boil that was last year's nominating committee burst in many ways.

First, the Board of Ethics and Professional Standards twice pleaded with the national board to investigate alleged wrongdoing by the nomcom and twice it was turned down. The top two people on BEPS were dispatched-Chuck Wood and Vivian Hamilton.

Sherry Treco-Jones, working many hours with other board members, then proposed reforms of the nomcom. These were shot down in a close 8-6 vote of the national board in March.

The defeat of this motion is proof that board members and officers should not be involved in backing or denigrating candidates.

Three of the candidates backed by 2003 president Reed Byrum and 2004 president Del Galloway got nominated and elected-Sue Bohle, Michael Cherenson and Anthony D'Angelo. Not surprisingly, they voted with their benefactors on the nomcom reform issue, defeating it.

The next day, Sherry Treco-Jones, who headed the fight for nomcom reform, resigned from the board, becoming the first board member ever to resign mid-term from PRSA.

And who replaced Treco-Jones? Gary McCormick, one of those picked for the board by the nomcom but who was defeated by Rosanna Fiske.

We wonder if Treco-Jones got a slight push.

Anthony Franco resigned the presidency in 1986 but he was actually forced out because he had signed an SEC consent decree, a huge embarrassment to PRSA. He had failed to tell PRSA of this impending action.

Board, Officers Have Weight

PRSA is contending that the 2000 Jack Felton committee on nomcom reform urged "all" members to take part in the nominating process. But Felton also said that the board should not be involved in picking its own members.

If the Felton committee wanted officers to be involved in the nomcom process, it would have specifically said "officers and directors."

Officers and directors can have influence over the nomcom because they can do many favors for people including appointing them to head committees and task forces.

Exhibit "A" for this is the three new board members who went along with their benefactors.

Had Jeff Seideman, Art Stevens and Phil Ryan still been on the board, the nomcom reforms and criticism of the 2003 nomcom would haved passed.

What were the abuses of the 2003 nomcom, headed by Kathy Lewton?

At the last minute, according to sources, Byrum and Galloway sent e-mails to the nomcom arguing against the selection of Seideman, Stevens and Ryan.

This was after Byrum and Galloway had agreed with a board vote that no one on the board was to get involved in the nominating process.

The nomcom, disobeying rules set up by the Felton committee, did not keep track of all contacts with nomcom members. This would have shown the contacts by Galloway and Byrum.

Lewton also made recommendations to the members on her committee although she is supposed to be neutral, sources said.

Neither Lewton, Byrum or Galloway have denied these reports.

We would like all of them to testify under oath.

Galloway, incidentally, has been unavailable for quoting in recent weeks. He must again take up the reins of leadership or forfeit his presidency. He should make a strong statement against board participation in the 2004 nominations.

A corporate candidate, employed by a client of Lewton's firm, Fleishman-Hillard, was sought for the board even though he had none of the required technical qualifications. He was even nominated.

But the nomination was then withdrawn. Why didn't PRSA staff examine his qualifications?

The single deadline date allowed for nominations was pushed back six days. This was illegal, say critics but the nomcom does not agree.

Felton Rapped "Elite" Few

Jack Felton, 1987 president who worked many months on nomcom reform (after 1980 president Patrick Jackson was accused of having too much influence on candidates), told the 2000 Assembly that PRSA was "tired of this elitist approach."

The nine directors who that year supported Joann Killeen over Stevens for president-elect had formed a "conspiracy" to "elect their own candidates," said Felton, "in order to keep their own little elite group in power."

The Society's bylaws say board and officer selection is to be by the "nominating committee which represents all chapters and districts... the intent is to have the board separate from the nominating process and the board is not to elect its own officers," he further said.

Under the Felton committee's reforms, the nominating committee was expanded from ten to 20 people.

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