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PR Executives, Including Edelman CEO Richard Edelman, Petition PRSA

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A group of PR industry executives today announced a petition to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) to remove PRSA accreditation — known as APR — as a requirement for being a national director or officer in the organization.

The group, which includes Edelman CEO Richard Edelman, Art Stevens of StevensGouldPincus, and Dave Rickey, bylaws revision chair of PRSA, issued a statement today, which read in part:

We are calling on PRSA to abandon the decades old requirement that its national officers and board members be accredited. Less than 20% of PRSA members are accredited meaning that 80% of the 21,000 members cannot become PRSA leaders unless they choose to become APR. We do not believe that democracy is being served in PRSA so long as a small minority of its members can hold elective office.

Sandra Fathi, president and founder of agency Affect Strategies, is part of the committee and told PRNewser today, “To volunteer in your chapter or any section you do not need to be APR. I’m the past president of the tech section and president elect of the NY chapter, but because I’m not APR accredited, I cannot serve in any capacity on the national level and that’s what we think is wrong.”

“No one is disputing the value of being accredited, only disputing whether it should be requirement to be involved on the national level,” she said.

Gary McCormick, APR, Fellow PRSA, 2010 Chair and CEO of PRSA, said in a statement to PRNewser:

When the ad hoc committee obtains the necessary signatures and forwards the language it would like the Assembly to consider, PRSA will develop an outreach program to raise awareness of the proposed amendment, similar to the one we conducted for the changes to PRSA’s Bylaws that were proposed last year.

PRSA’s current Board of Directors has not taken any position in support of or against the proposed amendment. Individual Board Members, like all Delegates to the PRSA Assembly, will be free to vote in favor of or against the amendment, as they determine.

The committee is seeking 1,000 signatures and will present them to the Assembly Oct. 15 in Washington, D.C. A similar petition was presented last year and failed to pass.

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