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ACM Picks New Association Management Firm

The Harrington Company, of Minneapolis to replace Coulter Companies

The public, education and government-channel advocate, the Alliance for Community Media, has hired a new management firm to oversee the organization’s day-to-day operations.

The ACM has selected The Harrington Company, of Minneapolis, as its new association-management firm. On its website Harrington says it offers general office and administration services; financial safeguards, policies and procedures; board and committee coordination; strategy development, marketing and communications planning; conference and event planning; publications and communications; certification and accreditation; membership recruitment and retention; and website management and maintenance.

Harrington will replace Coulter Companies, an association-management firm located in McLean, Va. that notified the alliance in February it was ending its current contract. However, Coulter will remain as the ACM’s management company until Aug. 15, according to a report provided to the ACM board written by Sylvia Strobel, the Coulter vice president who currently manages the alliance contract.

The Coulter report is focused on the “key achievements” of the ACM and its charity arm — the Foundation of the Alliance for Community Media — that were reached between July 2012 and May 2013. But it also provides some details as to why Coulter chose to end its contract with the ACM. The organization’s financial problems and lack of a formal business plan are cited in that part of the report.

In March 2011, Coulter met with the ACM board of directors to discuss the organization’s business plan and “fiscal health,” Strobel wrote. In addition, board discussions on those issues are continuing into 2013, the report says. Therefore, “due to the continuing discussions of the board and the fiscal realities of administering a national organization without a formal plan, the company [Coulter] that provides association management services to the FACM/ACM elected to end its relationship and contract,” the report says.

However, despite Strobel’s report saying the ACM lacked a “formal plan,” Keri Stokstad, the ACM board chair, denied the alliance had been operating without a business plan. “We’ve always had a business plan, or an operating plan,” Stokstad told Government Video. “We just needed to re-evaluate and re-assure the new business plan,” she added.