Alliance for Community Media Members Frustrated by Management Firm’s Unresponsiveness

ACM members say Coulter Companies employees do not return calls, are rude and have hung up
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Members of the Alliance for Community Media, the public, education and government channel advocate, are complaining that staff of the company contracted to oversee the ACM’s daily operation have not responded to phone calls. In addition, when an employee of the company designated to deal with alliance business has been contacted, the worker has been rude and has hung up on members.
ACM members have shared their concerns in e-mails to each other about the non-responsiveness of Coulter Companies, the association management firm located at McLean, Va. that has been administering ACM operations since 2011. Coulter also provides management services for 15 other non-profit organizations.
When the ACM contracted Coulter Companies, Sylvia Strobel, the alliance’s executive director at the time, was hired by Coulter to continue managing the ACM’s affairs. While Strobel continues to use the title of ACM executive director, she is actually a Coulter Companies’ vice president. In addition to Strobel, Coulter employee Gregory Morrison, who is listed on the company’s website as an “associate,” administers the ACM’s business.
However, as we have reported, ACM’s contract with Coulter Companies is coming to an end. On Feb. 15, Coulter notified the ACM that it was invoking the 180-day termination clause in their contract, and that has caused some ACM members to speculate that the contract termination is behind the unresponsiveness by Coulter’s employees.
On April 4, Ron Cox, the executive director of MATV and ACM member, told Government Video “the ACM staff’s non- responsiveness” has members concerned because the alliance’s annual conference is not to long away. The conference is May 29–31 in San Francisco, and members want to know if it is “all together,” he says.
“Usually about this time the conference book comes out, and the list of workshops is suppose to be out by now, and the results of the Hometown Video Festival,” says Cox, who adds none of those are yet available.
Because Coulter Companies is still engaged by the ACM, and will be until the contract ends, the concern is that “they are terminating,” so the do not care, according to Cox. While Cox has not formally asked the ACM leadership for a statement on the situation, he would like them to issue one. “What’s happening?” he asks. “If it’s under control, say so,” he added.
Cox is not alone in his concerns. DeeDee Halleck, Project Coordinator for Deep Dish TV, sent an e-mail saying, “After calling the ACM several times,” she “finally reached Greg Morrison. Halleck wrote, “I asked whether my registration to the June conference had gone through. He acted as if I was attacking him for asking that! Replying that OF COURSE he wouldn't know that!”
Another member, who asked to not be identified, says after two-weeks of calling and leaving voice-mail message, Morrison answered the phone and was rude. “I asked him if he received any of the voicemails I left and in response to that, he hung up on me,” the member says. “I understand they are busy, but why do I pay membership fees just to be ignored, spoken down to, and hung up on by someone? I’m very concerned with this issue,” the member says.
Government Video made phone calls to Strobel, Morrison, Keri Stokstad, who is the ACM’s chair, and Kathy Bisbee, an ACM board member, seeking comment. None of them returned GV’s phone messages.