The PRSA Oregon Chapter, saying “Hell No!” to proposals of the Society’s national board, shames silent PRSA/NY which is in collusion with national.

Dianne Danowski SmithDianne Danowski Smith

Dianne Danowski Smith, chair of Oregon’s development committee, and John Mitchell, instructor, Univ. of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, posted on the chapter’s website lengthy stout opposition to governance proposals of the national board.

“No” is the position of the chapter on allowing the national board to make bylaw changes that would require a two-thirds Assembly vote to overthrow. “Hell No!” is the comment on the proposal to end district representation on the board.

The critiques of the board’s proposals, which went before the Assembly Oct. 7, are in the members-only area of the chapter’s website. The “newsroom” of PRSA/national has yet to report on what happened at the Assembly. Chapter websites show no knowledge of what took place.

Gonzopr Cracks Oregon Web

Gonzopr has cracked the PRSA/Oregon website and is carrying the chapter's entire critique of the PRSA board proposals.

It comments: "In the city known for the Boston Tea Party and 'no taxation without representation,' the PRSA will decide whether it should be a "top down" or 'bottoms up' organization. Should leadership become highly centralized for conformity? Or should it be driven from the grassroots?"

Gonzo also posted a report on the meeting.

Ketchum/Omnicom Dominate PRSA/NY

PRSA/NY’s website not only skipped any critique of national’s proposals but its five Assembly delegates have refused to report on what happened Oct. 7 either to chapter members or the press. The chapter would not identify the delegates.

It’s easy to see what forces are putting the muzzle on the chapter.

Three of the 24 leaders on the chapter’s website are with Ketchum—Mike Doyle, partner and director; Emily Simmons, managing account supervisor, and Jacquie McMahon, A/E. No other organization has more than one rep in leadership.

Rob FlahertyRob Flaherty

The three take orders from Rob Flaherty, chairman and CEO of Ketchum who gets his marching orders from owner Omnicom which ceased any contact with the O’Dwyer Co. about 20 years ago.

The responsibility for the chapter’s behavior lies with Flaherty.

Chapter officers such as Olga Gonzales, Henry Feintuch and Bill Doescher, who are solo or in small firms, are “fronts” for the Ketchum connection.

We are especially disappointed in chapter ethics officer Emmanuel Tchividjian, who holds the title of “chief ethics officer” of Ruder Finn. He should be speaking out about these abuses. Significantly, Tchividjian’s listing on the PRSA/NY website does not show his place of employment. He doesn’t want to publicly link RF to the ethical sinkhole of PRSA.

NYC Snub Is Scandalous

The dysfunctional governance of PRSA national and its chapters has come to a head with the continued avoidance of New York as a conference city. Having one conference in NYC in the past 25 years with none planned is blatantly scandalous and the tip of the iceberg of abuses at the Society.

PRSA/Oregon is angry but it must pursue its anger. The national board, which gives 16 of its 17 seats to APRs when the proportion should be 3-4 seats, should be forced to resign. It has nine males and only eight females when Society membership is about 80% female.

Skipping NY: Good for Staff, Bad for PRSA

PRSA staff’s aversion to national conferences in New York (one in past 25 years) has cost upwards of $4.5 million in the past ten years.

There’s no doubt about the staff’s fondness for distant cities for meetings although the June “Leadership Rally” of 135 chapter, district and section officers is usually in New York.

Staff at conferences, often numbering 30 and more when much of the work could be done by local volunteers, get a week or two on the Society’s tab—meals, entertainment, travel and personal business expenses. Advance trips are also on the Society.

Travel/meals/hotel expenses were $464,880 in 2015 when the conference was in Atlanta; $489,526 when it was in Washington, D.C., and $434,970 when it was in Philadelphia, for a total of $1,394,640. PRSA has yet to send the O’Dwyer Co. its IRS form 990 for 2016 which has the travel expenses.

Average is $464K yearly which works out to $4.6 million over a ten-year period. Not all of the expenses are conference related but there’s no doubt most of them are. In this day of the phone and internet, why is all this travel needed?

Thirty-one Staffers in Boston

Registered for the Oct. 7-10 meeting in Boston were 31 PRSA staffers.

They included CEO Joseph Truncale, CFO Philip Bonaventura, marketing officer John Robinson, controller Wai Cheung, VP Karla Voth, VP Jay Starr, VP Alex Ortiz, sr. mgr. Don Bill, web mgr. Michael Benoit, program manager Caroline Berman, pubs. dir. John Elsasser, regional rep Donald Mounce, mgr. Colleen Seaver, client services mgr. Richard Spector, exec asst. Donna Jonas, sections mgr. Vada Wilson, digital comms. Troy Thompson, dev. coord. John Kesaris, prof. dev. dir. Jason Barnhart, and admin. assts. Melissa Murray and John Gumbiner.

Staffers without titles who attended were Albert Chau, Crystal DeStafano, Dean Essner, Ilene Glantz, Rod Granger, Samantha Lake, Michael Molaro and June Ramadham.

Amber Pardes was listed as the sole PRSA/Boston volunteer, helping at a “reception event.” PRSA staff at conferences make it clear to locals that the national staff is running the show.

The Oregon chapter posted the following on its website:

"About 300 Assembly Delegates from 100 chapters around the country gathered on Saturday, Oct. 7, to discuss and vote on amendments to the national bylaws as well as hear results of the 2018 Board of Director elections, including Brad Hilliard, APR, serving as Assembly Delegate At-Large next year. Oregon sent President-Elect Julie åWilliams and two other seasoned delegates.

There was heated debate prior to and during Assembly about Amendments 1703 and 1704, including testimony from PRSA Oregon delegates, Dianne Danowski-Smith, APR, Fellow PRSA and John Mitchell, APR, Fellow PRSA.

The result: upholding all district seats on the National board and rescinding 1704 by the board of directors (fairly unprecedented according to longtime delegates) to many cheers by delegates.

  • Amendment 1701 – APPROVED: Documents the Requirement for District Bylaws to Comply with National Bylaws was approved
  • Amendment 1702A – APPROVED (as amended): Change the term “public relations” to “public relations and communications” was approved
  • Amendment 1703 – NOT APPROVED: Eliminate requirement for District Representation Among Directors on the National Board
  • Amendment 1704 – TABLED: Allow the Board of Directors to Amend Bylaws