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Internet Edition, September 2, 2009, Page 1


CalPERS, the giant pension system for California public employees, is looking to refresh its “spring-fed pool” of PR firms that handle projects.

The fund’s office of public affairs first set up the pool of firms in 2006 but has issued an RFP to renew its field of agencies that handle work in five PA categories, including media training, writing and communications.

Firms must have been providing the services for five years to pitch.

Ogilvy PR Worldwide, Edelman, Cook & Schmid, Fischer Communications and MWW Group are among agencies that work with CalPERS.

The 77-year-old fund, formally known as the California Public Employees Retirement System and based in the capital, Sacramento, covers 1.3M active and retired state staffers and employs 2,300 people. Members contributed more than $10.7B from 2007-08 alone and the system has more than $180 billion under management. The RFP has been posted online for firms wishing to pursue a place in the pool.

Proposals are due by Oct. 6 with earlier deadlines for questions about the RFP.


The Clean Air Campaign, a public-private non-profit touting environmental measures in Georgia, is reviewing its six-figure-a-year PR account with an RFP process. Cookerly PR of Atlanta is the incumbent.

Budget is slated to be $225K for the first year of the three-year contract running through the end of 2012.

A key focus of the PR effort is the 20 metro Atlanta counties which have been designated in the category of “nonattainment” for air quality standards by the Environmental Protection Agency. Carpools, mass transit, and various other steps that can be taken to curb toxic emissions are to be stressed to the public, employers, schools, and other groups.

A firm is expected to be selected by late October.


Michael Salop, who made his investor relations and financial communications mark at Mattel Inc., is now senior VP-IR at Western Union, the $5B money transfer operation.

In a nearly 20-year stint, Salop rose to senior VP-IR & treasurer at the toy company marketer. He also served as VP-finance for Mattel’s American Girl division, senior VP-finance for Mattel Europe based in the Netherlands and senior VP-strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions.


Brown Lloyd James handled the uproar over the prospect of Libyan strongman Moammar Gaddafi setting up a Bedouin tent in the leafy New Jersey town of Englewood when he visits the U.S. this month to address the United Nations.

The outrage, which forced the Libyans to fold their tent, was intense in the wake of the hero’s welcome that was staged for the Lockerbie bomber, who was released from a Scottish jail. Thirty-eight of the 270 victims in the Pan Am bombing came from N.J.

Gaddafi pitched his tent in the garden of the Elysee Palace while visiting Paris in 2007, and in Rome this year.

Libyan officials had asked Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s office if Gaddafi could set up his camp in Central Park. NYC nixed that request. Libya’s mission to the U.N. owns a 10,000 sq. ft. stone mansion in Englewood, across the Hudson River from NYC.

BLJ’s Molly Conroy worked the tent matter for Libya. The former Times of London staffer and Polo Ralph Lauren corporate communications manager handled BLJ’s launch of the English-language Al Jazeera, the Arabic satellite TV network.


PR veteran Harlan Loeb has moved to Edelman to take control of its U.S. crisis and issues management practice.

Loeb joins from FD, where he was founding member of the Chicago office of the firm formerly known as Financial Dynamics.

He spent five years at Hill & Knowlton, serving as U.S. litigation practice director and member of the global crisis team. He has advised Enron, Dow Chemical, HSBC, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, BASF, Allstate and Mitsubishi on risk management, litigation, crisis and issues strategy and PR.


PR Society leaders and Assembly delegates on Aug. 24 questioned the purpose of the bylaws re-write that chair Mike Cherenson said has consumed “hundreds if not thousands of hours” of the time of Society volunteers.

PR Prof. Dean Kruckeberg, co-chair of the Commission on PR Education of PRS, told a teleconference that the bylaws re-write is about the “health of the Society” rather than “what the Society is doing for the profession.”

(Continued on page 7)


Internet Edition, September 2, 2009, Page 2


The Pentagon has axed Rendon Group's contract to issue report cards based on the "performance" of embedded journalists in Afghanistan.

Stars and Stripes reported last week that Rendon's job was to grade coverage of the Afghanistan action on a “positive,” “negative” or “neutral” basis.

That news report triggered a storm of protest in media circles, charging the Pentagon was more interested in propaganda.

Rear Admiral Gregory Smith, the top U.S. military communicator, made the decision to drop the contract. “It was clear that the issue of Rendon's support to U.S. Forces in Afghanistan had become a distraction from our mission,” he wrote in an e-mail to S&S.

Smith, who was posted in Afghanistan in June, added that he “found no systemic issues with fairness or equity in the way U.S. forces have run their media embed program.”

Rendon’s “media analysis services” contract was worth $1.5M.

The International Federation of Journalists and affiliated groups in the U.S. blasted the military’s use of TRG to vet journalists who sought to be embedded with U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan.

“It suggests [the military is] more interested in propaganda than honest reporting,” said Aidan White, general secretary of the IFJ, who added that the practice compromises the independence of media.

Rendon responded to widespread coverage of its work with a statement on its website on Aug. 25. “The analysis is not provided as the basis for accepting or rejecting a specific journalist’s inquiries and TRG does not make recommendations as to who the military should or should not interview,” the firm said. “In the field of public affairs our first principle is that information should be communicated in a timely, truthful and transparent manner.”

The IFJ called Rendon a “notorious public relations firm” and noted its work with the Iraqi National Congress, the opposition group linked to false reports about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

The IFJ also noted that an S&S reporter was barred from embedded reporting two months ago for apparently refusing to “highlight” positive news from military commanders.


Karen Raskopf, who headed corporate communications in a 12-year career at Blockbuster, has moved to Dunkin’ Brands to head communications as senior VP for the donut and ice cream franchiser.

Raskopf, reporting to CEO Nigel Travis, who took the reins in January after heading Papa John’s, oversees PR, internal/external comms., marketing, and event management, among related disciplines at Dunkin’, which counts 15,000 stores in 44 countries worldwide for its Dunkin Donuts and Baskin-Robbins franchises.

Sales for 2008 were just under $7 billion. Dunkin was acquired in 2006 by three private equity firms and rumors have percolated that an IPO could be an option.

Raskopf was previously head of comms. for 7-Eleven before exiting for Blockbuster in 1997.


WPP chief Martin Sorrell slashed headcount 6.3 percent to 105,393 people (as of July 31) as the 8.3 percent drop in first-half revenues was twice what the Dublin-based ad/PR combine had anticipated. Profit plunged 48 percent to 108.4M pounds ($175M).

Sorrell believes WPP cost structure is now “better balanced” to deal with reduced revenues and will result in a “marked improvement in profitability.”

The WPP chief remains cautious though results in July were “less-worse” than the first-half. The company has “little doubt that CEOs and CMOs feel better about the general economic environment, Armageddon or Apocalypse now having been averted, there is little evidence of better heads and stouter hearts translating into stronger order-books or investments—at least, yet,” according to its statement.

Looking at 2010, WPP eyes “even Steven” top line revenues despite a boost from the Winter Olympics, World Expo in Shanghai, Asian Games in Guangzhou, FIFA World Cup and mid-term U.S. congressional elections.

On the PR front, WPP’s Burson-Marsteller, Hill & Knowlton, Ogilvy PR and Cohn & Wolfe units registered a 6.9 percent drop in revenues.


Chime Communications, the U.K.-based parent company of Bell Pottinger, reported a 19 percent rise in first-half revenue to 137.5M pounds ($223.3M at the current exchange rate). Its PR business, which represents 55 percent of its portfolio, was up 27 percent to 86.4M pounds.

Chime, led by Tim Bell, noted “less good performance” in public affairs, financial and tech PR was offset by geopolitical, corporate and CSR work, the Middle East and consumer PR. Bell said pre-tax profit of 8.5M pounds ($13.9M) was a record at four percent growth.

The company said its small cost base compared to the “big four” ad/PR conglomerates gives it a competitive advantage noting, “Big is not as beautiful or as safe as it once was.” Chime sees its digital portfolio growing and Internet solutions becoming more effective as marketing expenditures continue to decline. “We think this is a permanent change,” the company said.

In addition to BP, Chime also owns PR units Good Relations, Harvard, Insight and Corporate Citizenship.


Sheila Kindig, former director at BearingPoint Management & Technology Consulting, has been tapped as senior VP in the corporate communications practice of FD.

The employee engagement specialist is based in Chicago and will counsel clients on organizational effectiveness.

Kindig reports to Christian Hodges, managing director and Chicago chief of the FTI Consulting Inc. unit. Hodges said in a statement that Kindig’s skills are especially apt for companies “facing major transformations.”

FD employs more than 730 staffers.


Internet Edition, September 2, 2009, Page 3


E.W. Scripps Co. has revamped its 13 daily newspapers to better share best practices and standardize business processes.

Mark Contreras, senior VP-newspapers, says the idea is to “make sure all of our newspapers have a sharpened focus on delivering unrivaled local content across multiple platforms and development of the best sales organization in each of our markets.”

Scripps has divided its papers into “regional” and “mid-sized” media organizations. Regionals include papers in Memphis, Knoxville, Naples, Treasure Island (Fla.), Ventura (Calif.) and Corpus Christi. Those publishers report to Contreras.

The mid-sized papers are based in Evansville (Ind.), Anderson (S.C.), Redding (Calif.), Bremerton (Wash.) and the Texas towns of Wichita Falls, San Angelo and Abilene. They report to Bruce Hartmann, VP-sales.

An operating committee has been established to oversee the papers. Members are Hartmann, Rusty Coats (VP-content and marketing), Frank Wolfe (VP-operations), and Jim York (VP-information technology).


Jason Horowitz, political reporter for the New York Observer, is joining the Washington Post to work on the Style desk.

He joined the Observer in 2000 as intern and fact-checker. Horowitz exited the paper to write for the Globe and Times in Italy and returned to the Observer in `05 as a full-time reporter.

Observer editor Tom McGeveran said Horowitz’ political coverage put the paper on the national map especially when he interviewed Joe Biden during the presidential campaign and got the quote from Delaware’s former Senator about Barack Obama being “clean.”


Lauren Kapp is the new VP-communications at NBC News and chief spokesperson for Steve Capus, president of the operation.

Capus, in a statement, called Kapp a “true professional with great integrity and a strategic thinker.”

Kapp joined NBC News' press shop in ’02. Most recently, she handled publicity for the “Nightly News with Brian Williams” and specials.

She will now be in charge of “Today,” “Dateline,” “Meet the Press” as well as internal communications and corporate philanthropy. Prior to NBC, Kapp was at ABC News and Marina Ein PR in Washington, D.C.


Yahoo has acquired, which has 16.5M users in the Middle East. The Arabic language site has the bulk of its customers in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.

Yahoo says Maktoob's general manager Ahmed Nassef will remain in place to lead the entity.

There are more than 320M Arabic speakers in the world, but only one percent of online content is in their language. Internet adoption in the Middle East, according to Yahoo, is in the early stages.


Maria Grasso and Nina Wass have exited OWN, the joint cable TV venture between Oprah Winfrey and Discovery Communications, according to a report by Broadcasting & Cable.

Grasso had been senior VP-programming. Formerly, she was senior VP-series development at Lifetime. Grasso can take credit for "Army Wives," "Everwood" and "One Tree Hill."

Wass was handling duties such as creative, production and scheduling.

An OWN spokesperson said it is not unusual for people to leave jobs.

B&C notes that Grasso and Wass were hired by Robin Schwartz, who exited the presidency post in April. Jamila Hunter, an NBC veteran, joined OWN in June as head of programming.

OWN is slated to launch next year, reaching more than 70M homes. It replaces Discovery Health.

Discovery plans to spend up to $80M on the new network.


Jermaine Hall is the new editor of Vibe and, which is being re-launched under new ownership of InterMedia Partners, a private equity firm.

Hall was editor of King, the monthly geared to black men that shut down earlier this year.

He also was music editor of The Source, a rap music publication, and webmaster at Vibe.

The first issue of the quarterly Vibe will appear in November.


The Observer Media Group, publisher of the New York Observer, slates Sept. 15 as the date for the launch of the Commercial Observer, a weekly newspaper covering the real estate scene.

The CO is to have 24 to 28 pages each issue and will be delivered free to 10K people in New York's real estate market. A subscription will cost $240 a year.

The new entity will use the same salmon-colored paper as the NYO. Jared Kushner, owner of NYO, believes though the real estate deal market continues in a slump there are plenty of lease transactions to keep reporters at the CO busy.

Content will also include news on financing and real estate law.

The CO will rely on staffers at the NYO, which covers real estate extensively.

They include Tom Acitelli, real estate editor; Dana Rubenstein, commercial real estate reporter and Eliot Brown, economic development reporters.

Weekly features will be “The Week in Real Estate” (round-up), “Commercial Breaks” (compelling deals); “The Lease Beat,” “The Sit-Down (interviews) and “Prospective Tenants.”

The NYO, according to Kushner, expects to lose less money this year than last, and break even next year.

Rubenstein Communications handles PR for Observer Media Group.

(Media news continued on next page)


Internet Edition, September 2, 2009, Page 4


Singer Associates is helping entertainer MC Hammer rebut news reports that he owes hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes.

Hammer, whose real name is Stanley Burrell, said through Singer that he paid 100 percent of the Internal Revenue Service’s claim against him dating back to the 1980s.

He said the IRS decided recently that he owed them additional taxes, which he is contesting through the IRS appeal process.

Sam Singer, who heads the San Francisco PR firm, said MC Hammer was referred to the firm by the entertainer’s investment, legal and financial advisors.

“He is charming and delightful to work for,” Singer told O’Dwyer’s. “And, as you might imagine, he is an excellent writer.”

Singer said the current assignment is countering reports that the tax issue is new, but the PR pro said he welcomes the opportunity for future assignments.

Hammer has developed a huge online following (1.3M followers on Twitter) and appears on the A&E network show “Hammertime.”

He is co-founder of, a social networking site that features dance videos from users.


The A&E Television Network is scooping up Lifetime Entertainment Services, a deal that combines cable programming such as A&E's "History Channel" with Lifetime's "Project Runway" franchise.

A&E is owned by Hearst, Disney and General Electric's NBC Universal. Disney and Hearst control half of Lifetime.

A&E is the No. 8 cable network with an average of 1.3M viewers while Lifetime is No. 13.

Abbe Raven, A&E's CEO, will take command of the combined entity. Andrea Wong, Lifetime's CEO, reports to Raven.


The Financial Times has penciled in Oct. 16 for the U.S. launch of its high-end quarterly glossy, FT Wealth.

The mag will be inserted into the financial newspaper and target those with personal assets of more than $1.5M.

FT unveiled FT Wealth in Europe in `08. The Wall Street Journal launched its high-end last year.


Entertainment PR powerhouse 42West is speaking for the production company behind a VH1 reality show at the center of a high-profile murder-suicide under investigation.

Ryan Jenkins, a contestant on the reality show, “Megan Wants a Millionaire,” was found dead of suspected suicide last month in a British Columbia motel.

That development came just days after he was charged with the first-degree murder of his ex-wife, Jasmine Fiore, a model whose body was found mutilated and stuffed in a suitcase in a Los Angeles trash bin.

42West’s Allan Mayer, a former Sitrick and Company exec, is representing 51 Minds, the production company for the show on which Jenkins appeared.

“Obviously, if the company had been given a full picture of his background, he would never have been allowed on the show,” Mayer said in a statement.

VH1 pulled the plug on the show on Friday, a day after the charges against Jenkins were handed down. Jenkins was also slated to appear on another VH1 reality show, “I Love Money.”

The Viacom-owned network stressed in a statement that the “Millionaire” program was an “outside production” and called the situation “tragic.”

51 Minds is owned by Endemol, a production giant behind shows like “Deal or No Deal” and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”

BRIEFS ___________________________

The New Republic has revamped with changes in both “substance and style.”

TNR says its content is easier to share and policy-specific blogs have been added.

A new blog, The Avenue, covers the future of American cities in collaboration with the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program.

MPA Media, Huntington Beach, Calif., said it will launch a new magazine on the chiropractic market, Dynamic Chiropractic PracticeINSIGHTS, in 2010 intended to help chiropractors make business and buying decisions.

The publisher said alternative health is being embraced more and more by consumers and sees the sector as a growing market.

“We have great faith that the professions we serve will flourish in whatever health care reforms comes our way,” said Don Petersen, MPA president and publisher.

The launch includes the monthly print magazine (40K chiropractic offices in U.S.) and website.

The first issue of DCPI kicks off in print and online in January 2010.

Penton Media has started Energy Efficiency & Technology and as a new resource to serve engineers interested in news, technology and other information on the space.

The magazine debuted Aug. 20 with a circulation of about 25K engineers involved in various aspects of the energy efficiency market.

Wind turbine supply chains and developments in LEDs were among topics of that first issue.

Leland Teschler is editor.

Hat marketer New Era Cap has unveiled a custom digital magazine, Your Lifestyle. Fitted., with content and features on music, fashion, sports and other topics.

The free publication, launched on the company’s website on Aug. 26, will appear quarterly and is being promoted via social networks and New Era’s 100K email list.

New York agency Narrative designed the pub.

Internet Edition, September 2, 2009, Page 5


Kansas City ad/PR agency Barkley is acquiring 28-year-old K.C. PR firm Boasberg/Wheeler Communications to create a 30-plus staffer independent Midwest PR shop.

The companies said the combination will produce PR revenue topping $6M. B/W has about ten staffers and handles accounts across various sectors like healthcare, consumer and financial, including UMB Financial (also a client of Barkley) and Hostess. Larry Wheeler has been CEO since 1997.

Barkley, formerly known as Barkley Evergreen & Partners, has 22 people in its PR unit and is a member of the IPREX network of independent firms. It has 325 staffers overall, according to the K.C. Business Journal, which ranks it as the No. 3 ad agency in the city.

Mike Swenson is executive VP of PR.


Joel Sawyer, who resigned Aug. 5 as communications director for embattled Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, has started a PR firm in the state capital, Columbia.

Sanford, a Republican, has rebuffed calls from Democrats, some GOP members and his lieutenant governor to resign after he was outed for having a year-long extramarital affair with an Argentine woman and questions have arisen about state funding for trips to that country.

Sawyer said his new firm, New Level Strategies, will handle various PR tasks like media strategy and training, crisis communications and message development.

The 32-year-old former reporter at the Spartanburg Herald-Journal served Sanford for more than six years.

The governor’s cabinet director, Ben Fox, has taken over as comms. director;

BRIEFS: General Motors will work with Weber Shandwick to promote its participation in the Shanghai World Expo that is slated to run from May through October of next year. The Detroit auto maker has never funded an Expo exhibit outside the U.S. GM staged “Futurama” at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933 and “Tomorrow Land” at the New York World’s Fair in 1964. GM’s Shanghai exhibit will project what “personal mobility” will look like in the year 2030. China is GM’s fastest growing market. For GM, WS will handle media relations, events, forums, social media, website and vehicle rides. The Interpublic unit has extensive ties with Shanghai's Expo organizers. It helped the city land the Expo. ...The International Civil Rights Center & Museum has retained RLF Communications to handle PR as the facility moves closer to its scheduled Feb. 1 opening date, which marks the 50th anniversary of the “sit-in” movement. The Greensboro, N.C., museum is being constructed in the original F.W. Woolworth building, where nearly a half century ago four black men sat at the whites-only counter of the five and dime and demanded to be served. Despite media reports of funding woes, RLF president Monty Hagler assured O’Dwyer’s the “museum is on track and will open” as planned.


New York Area

Allen & Caron, New York/Enova Systems, electric and hybrid drive systems for buses and medium-duty vehicles, as AOR for investor relations and corporate communications. CEO Mike Staran said Enova’s immediate goals are to boost its trading liquidity and valuation and saw the time as right to hire A&C given the current growth in the alternative energy sector.

JB Cumberland PR, New York/Blackfire, for launch of its Blackfire Camplight flashlight, and Tailor Made Products, for launch of a line of children’s cooking utensils called “Curious Chef.”

The Morris + King Company, New York/Remy Martin USA, for a PR campaign, including new media and social networks, for five of its cognac brands.


McKinney Advertising & PR, Cleveland/Greenkote Plc., industrial coatings, as AOR for global marketing comms. as well as development of a new website. The company is based in Cleveland with factories in Germany, U.K., Israel and Mexico.

XG-ad, St. Louis/Ardent, fishing reels and accessories, for development of promotional and merchandising materials.

Innis Maggiore, Canton, Ohio/Pinnacle Sports, Medina; Zyvex Performance Materials, Columbus; The Mitchell Group, Niles, Ill.; Dover Hydraulics, Dover; Combi Packaging Systems, Canton; Zeiger Industries, Canton; Excel Golf/The Concession Golf Club, Sarasota, Fla.; Goodwill Industries of Cleveland and East Central Ohio; Excel Storage Products, East Stroudsburg, Pa.; United Initiators, Elyria; Ohio State University – Industry Liaison Office, for PR and marketing comms.


Hunter Outdoor Communications, San Antonio, Tex./MedjetAssist, emergency medical evacuation membership program, as AOR for PR focused on the outdoor, hunting and fishing markets.

Mountain West

Wall Street Communications, Salt Lake City, Utah/Softel, TV and video title technologies, for PR focused on the trade press.


Lewis PR, San Francisco/VSP Vision Care, benefits provider, for a cross-platform social media campaign, part of its fall open enrollment drive. The work includes social media strategy, content development and optimization, engagement, monitoring and evaluation focused on highlighting the role vision coverage has in health and reducing long-term costs related to managing certain diseases.

Ballantines PR, Santa Monica, Calif./Santa Monica Bayside District, for PR, events and community relations. Initial focus is the District’s push to overhaul the downtown area.

KLR Communications, Newport Beach, Calif./AVerMedia Information, for strategic comms. support and planning for its multimedia devices in the U.S. The work includes PR and social media efforts.

Internet Edition, September 2, 2009, Page 6


Medialink shareholders will meet on Sept. 25 in New York to vote on the broadcast and digital PR company’s proposed acquisition by The NewsMarket.

Stockholders as of Aug. 3, 2009 are eligible to vote at the Courtyard New York Manhattan on Third Avenue in New York at 10 a.m.

The deal is worth about $1.3M, based on the 6.4M shares and the valuation of the transaction at $0.20 a share.

Kenneth Torossian, chief financial officer of Medialink, said in a statement: “The preliminary integration work and the transition planning we have been doing with The NewsMarket have been going extremely well, reinforcing our optimistic view of the opportunities the merger will afford the combined entity.”

Medialink works with Darrow & Associates for investor relations.

Exec to MultiVu

Meanwhile, Rick Sannicandro, a top Medialink exec in a ten-year career there, has moved to rival MultiVu, a unit of PR Newswire, as divisional VP. He's focusing on initiatives outside the U.S. for the broadcast/digital PR company.

Sannicandro had been VP of client solutions and VP of operation during his tenure at Medialink and previously worked at ABC’s Worldwide TV News.

PR Newswire is owned by United Business Media.

VOCUS SHARES LAUDED featured shares of PR software company Vocus among “4 Internet Stocks Flying Under the Radar” on Aug. 20.

The Fool noted that Vocus is growing despite the current economy with more than 800 subscribers added since last year.

“Vocus’ sparking balance sheet is also stocked with roughly $5 a share in cash and short-term investments, protecting the stock’s downside until the economy does bounce back,” wrote Rick Aristotle Munarriz.

Vocus shares are trading around $16.75 with a 52-week range of $11.47-$41.50.


The PR Society issued a condemnation of recent PR tactics that have stirred controversy by misrepresenting or failing to indentify the source of communications.

PRS did not reference any of the incidents by name but appeared to be alluding to a Bonner & Associates staffer sending fake letters to members of Congress, employees of Reverb Communications posting positive reviews of clients’ iPhone applications, as well as bloggers lauding products they receive for free.

PRS points to its code of ethics in noting that “each scenario shares a common thread of potential malpractice” for failure to follow obligations of professional communicators to protect and advance the free flow of accurate and truthful information.

The Society noted ethics code sections on deceptive online practices, front groups and pay for play.



John Crosby, a veteran association marketing and PR pro, has taken the VP/communications slot at the Software & Information Industry Association, the influential trade group for software and digital content companies. Eileen Bramlet, who held the VP post, has left the group. Crosby had recently been senior director of marketing and communications at the National Park and Recreation Association and previously headed marketing and communications in two stints at the Special Libraries Association. He started out on the Hill with the late Rep. Herb Bateman (R-Va.) and later moved to the SLA before managing government marketing for LexisNexis. SIIA members include Adobe, Thomson Reuters and IBM among hundreds of others.

Audra Tiner, director of marketing comms. for infrastructure management solutions company Tideway Systems, to Articulate Communications, New York, as a member of its senior leadership team. She was previously with Metia, SeeBeyond, Progress Software and Cambridge Technology Group.

Catherine Sullivan, editorial director, MS&L New York, to Porter Novelli, as director of comms. She oversees comms. for the PN brand worldwide reporting to CEO Gary Stockman. Sullivan, 43, held posts at Publicis Dialog, Gibbs & Soell and Cohn & Wolfe.

Christopher Mordi, VP in the consumer brands unit at GolinHarris/Chicago, to Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet, outdoor kitchen equipment maker based in the Windy City, as VP of comms. He was previously at Lands’ End and Fleishman-Hillard.


Carrie Kurlander, assistant to the president and CEO of Alabama Power, part of Southern Company, to VP, comms., for Southern Company, based in Atlanta. She joined AP in 2003 as director of corporate comms.

Ann Baxter Kirk to group leader, Bader Rutter, Milwaukee. She joined the firm in 2008 and is a team leader for the BR’s Schneider Electric business. She also handles Ball Horticultural, Burpee home Gardens and GE Healthcare.

Tom Lindell has been named managing director of Exponent, the PR unit of Colle+McVoy, Minneapolis. He is a nine-year C+V veteran and formerly held posts at Carmichael Lynch Spong and Fleishman-Hillard.


Michael Birkin, former vice chairman of Omnicom Group and CEO of Asia-Pacific at the ad/PR conglomerate, has taken a majority stake in RPMC, the 26-year-old Los Angeles brand events and experiences firm. He is a former CEO of OMC’s Interbrand Group.

Benjamin Akande, dean of the School of Business and Technology at Webster University, has been named to The Vandiver Group’s advisory board, its fifth member. Akande leads a faculty of 1,500 spanning 107 campuses in the U.S., Europe and Asia for the 13K-student business school.


Internet Edition, September 2, 2009, Page 7


Almost the entire Assembly Nov. 7 in San Diego will be taken up with voting, section by section, on the sweeping revision of the bylaws, said Cherenson.

Delegates, including those who send in their proxies to be voted by others, will then vote on the bylaws as a whole including any amendments, which do not have to be provided in advance.

Some members are vigorously protesting the use of proxies, recalling that a move to bar proxies was defeated on Dec. 3, 2005 in Chicago when 81 proxies were used. No proxies at all were needed for the special meeting (called because Hurricane Wilma washed out the October 22 meeting). Present were 159 delegates. A quorum was 103.

“Ironically, proxies were used to defeat the very motion that would have blocked the use of proxies,” said a member.

A debate on proxy voting lasted nearly two hours with the anti-proxy faction arguing that the bylaws specified that Assembly delegates had to be “assembled,” meaning in person, and the Assembly Handbook specifically said: “Delegates must be present for all votes during the day of the Assembly meeting.”

Also cited was Robert’s Rules which say it is a “fundamental principle of parliamentary law that the right to vote is limited to members actually present…”

Those in favor of proxies said that under New York State law they were permitted as long as there was no specific bylaw against them. They argued that the wording in the bylaws was not specific enough.

The biggest issue in 2005 was the move by the executive committee to be able to act as the full board between quarterly board meetings.

That bylaw passed and is also in the new bylaws (Article VI, Section 1), saying the EC “shall have and exercise the authority of the board in the management of the Society between meetings of the board.”

Practice has been for the EC to meet separately from the board for a period even when the rest of the board is present.

The most vocal opponent of the EC power move was the Miami chapter, which said it would make “eunuchs” of the rest of the board. The Sunshine district (seven Florida chapters), headed by Lisa Johnson, wanted the EC abolished and all references to it deleted from the bylaws and policies & practices manual (10/19/2005 Newsletter).

Electronic Meetings Possible

Veteran members wonder why so much power is given to the EC, and particularly between board meetings, when proposed Article XV says that any PRS board, committee or Assembly can meet by telephone conference and that “such participation constitutes presence in person at the meeting.”

The entire board could easily meet and vote by teleconference at any time so there is no need for the suspension of the authority of the entire board between board meetings, said members.

A key power exercised by the EC is the power to hire or retain the COO. That was used July 24 to provide a new contract to COO Bill Murray. Details have not been released and also not yet released is IRS Form 990, originally due May 15, that shows the salary of the COO, legal expenses, occupancy costs including rent, and other financial information.

Cherenson Responds to Kruckeberg

Cherenson, answering Kruckeberg’s “recommendation” that the board pay more attention to “what the Society is doing for the profession,” said that the bylaws create the “Leadership Assembly” that would cast it in an “advocacy role” that would take up “broad issues.”

One such issue, he said, would be working on “the definition of PR.”

However, parliamentarian Colette Trohan and legal counsel Ann Thomas both told Cherenson that the bylaws of a group are about the “rights of members” and the “flow of authority” and that giving tasks to members does not belong there.

Kruckeberg, who was at the University of Northern Iowa for 25 years and is now director, Center for Global PR, University of North Carolina-Charlotte, is a former chair of the Educators Academy of PRS.

Thomas has left the firm of Venable, Washington, D.C., but continues as legal counsel to PRS. She was parliamentarian for the 2008 Assembly. Beth Caseman of Venable handled those duties at the 2007 Assembly.

Anthony D’Angelo, 2007 treasurer who was defeated for chair-elect by Cherenson, said in a posting on the PRS governance E-group that his criticism three months ago about a board member heading the nominating committee is being ignored.

The bylaws committee, headed by Dave Rickey, has failed to address the criticism and there has been “no substantive discussion” of it on the PRS website, said D’Angelo in a posting Aug. 27. He feels the presence of a sitting board member (immediate past chair) on the board would “discourage board disagreements with that person during the course of the current year.” Judith Phair, 2005 president, has expressed a similar view.

Rickey at Birmingham Business Alliance

Rickey, who joined the Birmingham Business Alliance in June as SVP-communications from Alfa Corp., told the afternoon delegate conference that he would talk about the new bylaws “to anyone, any where, any time.” He mentioned a recent session with leaders of the Orlando chapter.

Rickey and Cherenson have been asked by this Newsletter to face rank-and-file members and the PR trade press at a press conference in New York on the bylaws. Neither has responded.

This NL also e-mailed presidents of 35 PRS chapters including the 15 largest to see if any have sought the views of members on the proposed bylaws or taken votes of the members on them.

Only three chapter presidents responded. One said that the debate at the national level was sufficient while another said the matter would be taken up at the chapter’s October board meeting.

The Central Michigan chapter in 2006 proposed that the Assembly be the “ultimate authority” at PRS but was unable to obtain public support by any other chapter.


Internet Edition, September 2, 2009, Page 8




The proposed bylaws of the PR Society, crafted by lawyers from the viewpoint of the executive committee, are nothing but a power grab by the EC which shouldn’t exist at all.

There’s no need for the EC to be meeting separately between quarterly board meetings since New York State laws allow actions taken during teleconferences.

There’s plenty of time to create a new set of bylaws with a law firm hired by the Assembly delegates using some of the $4.4 million in cash in PRS coffers.

No great legal work is needed. Just remove APR and the EC from the current bylaws; specifically block proxy voting; order that the Assembly meeting and other meetings involving governance be audiocast live on the PRS website and permanently archived, and make the Assembly the “ultimate authority” of the Society, as such groups are at the American Bar Assn. and American Medical Assn.

One of the worst things about the proposed bylaws is that they renege on the promise of direct elections by the 22,000 members. This turns out to be 500 voting in person or proxy.

While they’re at it, delegates should elect their own officers and conduct their own meeting just like the ABA and AMA conduct theirs.

Parliamentarian Colette Trohan told off PRS chair Mike Cherenson Aug. 24 when he said the new bylaws would establish the Assembly as an “advocacy” group tackling “big, broad issues” such as the “definition of PR.”

Trohan, no doubt the most distinguished parliamentarian PRS has ever hired (only one of two dozen people in the world who are both CPP-T (Certified Professional Parliamentarian-Teacher) and PRP (Professional Registered Parliamentarian), said no such thing belongs in the bylaws which concern the “rights of members” and the “flow of authority.”

The first real test of the proposed bylaws took place a few days ago when bylaws chair Dave Rickey conducted a point-by-point videoconference debate on three major proposals at the North Florida chapter—membership classes, the Assembly, and nominating committee. Twenty chapter members (out of 145) were present for the luncheon discussion.

Bylaw proposals on each of the three topics were voted down by a majority of those present.

Since, as both Trohan and PRS lawyer Ann Thomas pointed out in the Aug. 24 teleconference, the bylaws are an “all or nothing” proposition, this seems like a costly exercise in futility and frustration.

Unsophisticated PRS board members, heady with the discovery that lawyers will find legal reasons to support whatever directors want and that little or no opposition will come from members who can’t afford a law firm, have stood common sense and fair play on their heads.

An example is the shutting down of the 2008 Assembly promptly at 5 p.m. because that’s the agenda that was voted.

Delegates who had spent heavily to attend and who had waited a year for the meeting, were suddenly dispersed although 52% voted to continue the meeting. There had been no “Town Hall” although one was repeatedly promised.

Legally needed was a two-thirds vote. We bet the entire “leadership” bloc (17 directors, 20 section heads and 10 district heads) voted to end the meeting.

But we’ll never know since electronic voting devices are used that mask voting unless a roll call is demanded (and there has been only one in the ten years of voting device use).

Come to think of it, delegates never voted to use the devices (introduced in 1999) and are never asked at the start of the meeting if they want them.

The ABA and AMA do not use them. These groups use voice votes and then standing votes.

Cherenson told the Aug. 24 teleconferences that proxies would be distributed to delegates just after the 30-day mark before the Assembly.

Neither directed proxies (where the proxy holder is bound to vote a certain way) nor undirected proxies have any place in this legislative body.

Robert’s Rules, which have guided PRS for most of its 62 years, are emphatically against proxies.

“It is a fundamental principle of parliamentary law that the right to vote is limited to members who are actually present at the time the vote is taken,” says RR.

Proxy voting is not allowed in either the U.S. House of Representatives or Senate nor in virtually any state legislature.

Proxies were barred by explicit rules, a 58-year tradition and Robert’s Rules at the Assembly until 2005 when the executive committee went on a power rampage and forced proxies down the throats of the delegates.

How did they do it? By proxies!

The executive committee that year wanted the power to meet and take action between board meetings, a demand that was opposed by Miami and other chapters which said it would make “eunuchs” of the rest of the board (they were right).

Assembly bylaws say that it is in session when delegates are “assembled,” meaning in person. If that were not specific enough, the Assembly Handbook said: “Delegates must be present for all votes during the day of the Assembly meeting.”

What is there about that which can possibly be misunderstood?

Such explicit language, tradition and Robert’s Rules were no match for PRS lawyers mangling the language and squeezing out meaning where there was none.

The 2005 Assembly, meeting in Chicago after Hurricane Wilma washed out the Oct. 22 session, drew 159 delegates, far more than the 103 needed for a quorum. But, brandishing New York State laws that said proxies were “permitted” unless “specifically banned,” leadership allowed 81 proxy votes and accepted the twisted legal “logic.”

Who knows how they were voted? We bet all or most were in favor of proxies or they wouldn’t be using this device. Also voted was the empowerment of the EC.

Proxies were debated for nearly two hours and we looked forward to the transcript of that debate because PRS had supplied us and others with Assembly transcripts shortly after the 2002, 2003 and 2004 meetings.

But the board suddenly decided no more transcripts and that has been the rule since. There is no law requiring the board to release such a transcript! That is the “legal reasoning” that was used. Law has its place and so does PR. But PR should rule in its own house.

Proxies could be the tipping point in passing the proposed bylaws although we are becoming aware of stout opposition that is forming.

The political power that h.q. exercises over the chapters is not to be underestimated. Many staffers work full time at this while volunteers have limited time.

--Jack O'Dwyer


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