The President's Message: November 2009

Recap of the October Board Meeting

We made a number of decisions to protect the future of the Community Papers of Florida (CPF) association at the recently held board meeting.

First, I want to express my deep sympathy to the family of Sheryl Laird and to her team members at TheFlyer.com in Tampa. Sheryl, a 17-year veteran of TheFlyer.com, and a person I was fortunate enough to know and work with, was a great person and an outstanding member of TheFlyer.com's art department. She was tragically murdered on October 12th (see related article in this newsletter). She will be missed by all who knew her.

Since the hurricanes of 2004 created havoc in Florida and affected many of our member publications, this association has set aside a disaster fund for this type of situation. The board approved the use of $4,000 from this fund to set up a scholarship fund for Kelly, Sheryl Laird's seven-year-old daughter. This is a great way to use the resources this association has made available.

Classified revenue for the association continues to slide. The budget next year reflects the revenue, which has dropped over 40% from the previous year. While we have a strong war chest of money from previous years, the goal of the board is to use these funds wisely to assure the future operation of CPF.

The advertising budget, which pays for the semi-annual March of Dimes ads, was cut from $350,000 to $200,000. If we increase income, those funds will be used to increase the advertising budget.

The conference budget was slashed from $175,000 to $100,000. To assure that our conferences will continue to be the highlight of the year, we cut the number of members for which CPF will pay the entire cost. The number of rooms each paper is entitled to will continue to depend on the circulation of your papers. (The new allocation is included a separate article.) If you want to send more people than allocated, you can; however, you will have to pay the meal and room costs.

We will also be going back to the format of starting the conference at noon on Friday instead of Friday morning. This will eliminate the need for attendees to have hotel rooms on Thursday night. We guarantee the conference will continue to provide the training sessions you are accustomed to, which make it a great investment for your team members.

The budget includes funds to continue the support of PaperChain and the branding of the free paper industry. Once again, $40,000 was included for classified network contests. Especially with revenue going South, we felt it was important to keep this incentive in the budget.

The board approved the recommendations of the training committee to provide key regional training seminars. Include are classified network sales, how to create effective ads, and using the CVC audits to sell display advertising.

It has been a difficult year for the print industry. The associations that represent this industry are facing difficult times. We extend a hearty ‘thank you' to the committees and board members who have devoted their time to keep us looking at the future with confidence.

- Jim Kendall
CPF President

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