Robert Reeves, Bluegrass chapter president, called the hike “disappointing to say the least,” adding, “You can bet the local chapters, which actually provide the networking and professional development that most members join for, will not be able to get away with the $30 increase.”
Linda Tucker, PR specialist with the City of Sacramento, said a dues hike at this point “is just flat out unthinkable.” She said the city has stopped paying association dues, eliminated travel and training expenses and has forced all employees to take off one day a month (costing her $3,800 a year).
Leaders Point to Cuts
Treasurer Tate responded that the Society has cut $1.5 million from its budget and has “downsized” the staff. The cuts took place in 2009. Total payroll rose in 2010 and in the first half of 2011. PRS lost $312,797 on operations in Q2 as expenses totaled $2,890,160 and income, $2,577,363.
Fiske last week said that members who renew and new members will be able to take part in webinars at no cost in 2011, a potential savings of $1,800 if they take one $150 webinar per month.
This website has sent hundreds of personally addressed e-mails to almost all of the 110 chapter presidents, noting that the Society lost $2.9 million on the APR program from 1986-2002 and has left millions of dollars on the table by only having one national conference in New York in the 23-year period ending in 2013.
A New York conference taps into the biggest possible audience (record-breaking 4,000 in 2004) and saves on travel, meals and hotel for the 35 or so staffers who attend the conference. Advance trips are also eliminated. Many industries only have their annual conferences in New York.
A New York site also saves money for exhibitors, most of which are based in and around New York. PRS leaders “shop” the conference around the country to prove that the Society is a national organization and not run by New Yorkers.
APR, Geo Imbalance in Governance
Governance of PRS is not only imbalanced by APR dominance (only 18% of members are APR but only they can hold national office) but geographically— almost all major national offices are in the hands of Southerners.
Mickey Nall of Atlanta (barring a successful challenge) will be the third chair in a row from the South. Fiske, of Miami, succeeded Gary McCormick of Knoxville.
Treasurer for an unprecedented two years in a row is Phil Tate of Charlotte, N.C. Audit chair is Cheryl Ball of Knoxville. Ethics head is Tom Eppes of Charlotte. Co-chairs of the Universal Accreditation Board are Jay Rayburn of Florida State University and John Forde of Mississippi State. Kathy Barbour of Jacksonville, Fla., is nominee for 2012 treasurer and nominee for secretary is Dave Rickey, who headed the 2009 bylaws revision task force. The sole non-Southerner on the five-member executive committee is chair-elect Gerard Corbett, San Bruno, Calif.
— Jack O’Dwyer