The President's Message: August 2011
Congratulations to the telemarketing team members who took home their share of $10,000 during the recent second quarter "Best of the Best" classified network contest.

Half of the money was distributed to the five top reps in the association (and their managers) who earned the most points for ads placed during the contest. We also awarded $5,000 by the luck of the draw. Each rep who placed a network ad during the second quarter had the opportunity to win prize amounts of $1,000, $700, $400, $250 and $150, with a matching amount awarded to his or her manager.

The good news is that we are repeating the contest during the third quarter. Place some ads, earn some points, and get your name into the drawing. We are giving away some serious cash and we hope to see you in the winners' circle.

For the 2012 annual conference, CPF is returning to the site where we had a great conference in 2005: the Hutchinson Island Marriott Beach Resort & Marina in Stuart. This is a great facility with beach access as well as boating and fishing opportunities. In addition, Stuart is a unique city to visit.

The good news: During its recent meeting, the board voted to continue the conference benefits that we have experienced for the past five years. We will pay for the training seminars, the food, beverages, entertainment and your room costs. This is a benefit that few associations in America offer.

We have had a breakthrough in the free paper industry in Ohio, where the Governor signed a bill that allows audited free newspapers to publish legal notices.

The bill had some support from paid daily newspapers but still took years of negotiations. In their wisdom, the paid publishers were thinking ahead and looking to head off legislation that would have allowed legals to be placed on the Internet. The main factor was cost savings. The Ohio legislation will keep the legals in print there and save government agencies about 50% of what they were spending.

In Florida, CPF has been active in introducing legislation that would allow members with 25% news content and which are audited to publish legal notices.

We have some excellent newspapers that do a great job of informing their communities. In most cases, they do a better job than the paid newspapers do. Hometown News, Forum Publishing, Tampa Bay Newspapers, the Breeze Newspapers, the papers in Journal Community Publishing Group based in Ponte Vedra, and the News Gazette in Osceola are some of the CPF members that should be able to compete for this business.

For the past several years we have negotiated with the Florida Press Association (FPA) to work with us to get this legislation passed. Some members supported our efforts, but the vote for this effort did not pass.

We are continuing to work with certain house representatives, senators and our Tallahassee contact, Matt Blair, to move forward with the bill that we have written.

I do not have publications that would qualify to accept legal notices. But this association has publications that deserve to compete for this business. We will continue to move forward on this issue and we hope to be successful.

Steve Erlanger has served this association for a number of years. He has been a board member, worked on CPF committees and been a great asset to the association. His 16-year-old son, Austin, was recently killed in a motorcycle accident in Vero Beach.

Vero Beach High School has initiated an Austin Erlanger Scholarship Fund. The CPF board of directors has voted to place $5,000 from its disaster fund into the scholarship fund. This is a small token of what we can do. Keep Steve and his family in your prayers.


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