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A Few Words for the APA

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
I am really getting sick of APA tacking a fee to everything. I pay a large membership fee to begin with. Then I pay a fee for the Wisconsin Chapter, and a fee for each of the two divisions I joined. If I want the Journal, that is another fee. There are fees for any of the other publications. If you want to apply to be certified to take the AICP exam, then pay a $60 fee. If you are accepted you have the privelege of paying another $325 to take the exam, and if you pass, you now get to pay annual dues to maintain your AICP status.

Listen up, APA, I do expect something for my dues. I belong to other national organizations which have a similar dues structure, but not all of the additional fees. Determining eligibility for an exam doesn't cost me anything. I still pay a fee to take the exam, but my certification does not require an annual extortion payment.

By the time I pay dues and attend the state and national conferences, I have spent almost $2500 on APA. It can't go on this way. My department budget can't take it and I have other obligations competing for my own funds. APA needs to take a good hard look at what it offers to its members. If it can't offer some of these basic services without charging extra, then the organization needs to re-assess its priorities.
 

H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,850
Points
24
Thus why I am mot a member. I used to be, but just didn’t see it as a very good return investment for my money. I work for a small private firm that will not pay our dues (but the owners are members).

However, I do see the value of it, publishing books and journals, supplying links to jobs and schools, etc. I just have other places to put my money. If it was not so expensive I would rejoin.
 

Seabishop

Cyburbian
Messages
3,838
Points
25
Amen. Look at the help wanted ads we're not exactly nuero-surgeons. The fees add up. I love explaining to my wife that I just spent over $100 on virtually nothing.

I guess the APA needs lots of money to systematically destroy the American Dream. ;)
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,903
Points
35
You could always join the CIP (Canadian Institute of Planners). It's just as irrelevant as the APA, but I don't think they charge you quite as much. I could be wrong - I gave up my membership when I switched to an employer that doesn't pay professional dues.
 

Mastiff

Gunfighter
Messages
7,181
Points
30
C'mon people!

They changed the cover of Planner magazine... what the hell do you want now?!
 

SlaveToTheGrind

Cyburbian
Messages
1,386
Points
25
As long as my employer pays, I will be in the APA and AICP. If that ever drops, I will not pay the dues. All is does is send me a magazine and I get to put AICP on my business card.
 

otterpop

Cyburbian
Messages
6,655
Points
28
Amen to what all of you are saying. My department pays my memberships to APA, Western Planners and the Montana Association of Planners. I don't feel I get my money's worth from APA, though the other organizations are usually a good investment.

For the fees APA charge members there should be a lot more resources available online. Look at the ridiculous charge for those teeny PAS report ($20-35 for a 15-50 page paperback pamphlet), yet a real planning book is $20-60, and those PAS reports I've read certainly aren't worth more than $5-10.

I recall a Western Planners conference in Red Lodge Montana. The keynote speaker was the then-president of APA. He urged members to skip the next Western Planners conference and attend the APA convention instead. When he was finished and left the hall, the president of Western Planners asked who was going to attend APA rather than Western Planners. Dead silence. He asked who would attend Western Planners and received rousing applause. Besides, who would want to miss the Wyoming planners versus the world softball game. (Wyoming always win, no matter the score)

I did attend the APA convention this year in Denver, and it was good. It was useful to see how things are done in other jurisdictions. For a Western planner, Western Planners is much more relevant and much more supportive.
 

Richmond Jake

You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!
Messages
18,313
Points
44
SlaveToTheGrind said:
As long as my employer pays, I will be in the APA and AICP. If that ever drops, I will not pay the dues. All is does is send me a magazine and I get to put AICP on my business card.
Ditto.
 

gkmo62u

Cyburbian
Messages
1,046
Points
24
I agree with everyone, so why am I still a member? I once asked the APA if I could JUST pay AICP dues, they said no.

Further--I think my views are so underepresented (this comment is not meant for discussion._)

Question for senior level--department head types: Why do you pay for your employees dues? Its probably not that much cash depending on the size of your shop but you could use it elsewhere I am sure.

What is the newsstand price for Planning Magazine?






$7






Unbelievable.
 

PlannerGirl

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
6,377
Points
29
Im only in the APA becouse the boss thought it looked good. I refuse to sit for the AICP, sorry its a load of crap. Id much rather join ULI and deal with real world issues and focus on more urban issues.

APA sucks
 

Seabishop

Cyburbian
Messages
3,838
Points
25
PlannerGirl said:
...I refuse to sit for the AICP, sorry its a load of crap.
APA sucks...
I agree completely but I'm going to try for AICP anyway just because I've seen too many job ads wanting it. :( The AICP fees are even more outlandish. You passed the test and proved that you have the knowledge but if you don't pay every year they essentially pronounce that you didn't.
 

PlannerGirl

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
6,377
Points
29
Maybe its a westcoast thing. Here they would like you to have it but I have yet to see somewhere that required it.

The last two places I worked you did not get a raise or anything when you passed-a 50 buck check and a pat on the back, thats it.

Sorry its a load of bull.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
18,519
Points
69
Aye, mateys ... another thread where ye APA walks ye plank! Arrrrrgh!

re: Western Planner: where's the Web site for the Western Central Division? No such animal. Planners in the "empty quarter" deal with far different issues and attitudes than those in more settled areas. Western Planner magazine is a great resource, and there's no equivalent that I know of in the APA.

I agree that I'm not getting my money's worth, either. I'm under the impression that the APA dues are just an admittance fee, while it costs extra to ride any of the rides. Sure, there's Planning magazine, but not much changed aside from the over; it's essentially the same magazine as when it was published by the long-gone ASPO.

The APA has a habit of duplicating the efforts of other devoted planners. Take, for example, Wayne Senville; a couple of years after he started to publish the Planning Commissioner's Journal, the APA decides to start The Commissioner. Chris Steins published op-ed pieces from planners on PLANetize, but APA now has Viewpoints on their Web site. They're paying LexisNexis for a newsfeed like that offered by PLANetizen. Every couple of years, the APA proposes starting a Cyburbia-like bulletin board.

APA employees get notoriously low salaries, especially considering that the organization is based in Chicago, a city with a very high cost of living. So ... where does the money go? Lobbyists in DC? AIA does a lot of public promotion; consider all their television and radio commercials. Why doesn't the APA take planning advocacy beyond box city games at elementary school? The voices of The Cato Institute and Wendell Cox are heard everywhere; why not the APA?

Wait ... oh, El Guapo, have a look at this ....

APA is coordinating training and a tour of nine U.S. cities for 30 mayors from Jiangsu Province, China, from November 5-25.
How much is the APA shelling out for that? How about paying for training for mayors from East St. Louis, Gary and Camden?

I value my APA membership, but somehow, I don't feel part of their Clube. I have no say, except voting for some insiders every year. Anyone else feel the same way?
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
gkmo62u said:
Question for senior level--department head types: Why do you pay for your employees dues? Its probably not that much cash depending on the size of your shop but you could use it elsewhere I am sure.
Because at their lower salaries, the cost of due is equivalent to the higher non-member conference registration they would be required to pay.
 

SlaveToTheGrind

Cyburbian
Messages
1,386
Points
25
PlannerGirl said:
Im only in the APA becouse the boss thought it looked good. I refuse to sit for the AICP, sorry its a load of crap. Id much rather join ULI and deal with real world issues and focus on more urban issues.

APA sucks
Fortunately, I did get a pay raise for passing the exam. My thought on the exam is that I think is a worthless test and serves no purpose except for the APA to collect more $.
 

tsc

Cyburbian
Messages
1,905
Points
23
you really need AICP around where I work... it is usually a requirement. The last place I worked for payed for my dues... now I have to pay the load. I agree about the fees.... seems like a lot of $$$
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,550
Points
25
My clock is ticking. Only one month and 10 days until I am no longer an APA/AICP member. My employer has cut all professional organization membership fees and unless my boss can figure out a way to slide it in under the radar I am done. I will not pay $283 for 12 issues of Planning and year-round junk mail. I will instead spend that money on a Creative mp3 Jukebox or an Iipod, which I will get much more use and enjoyment out of.

As for the AICP, I took it and passed in 2002 and am still waiting for my employer to reimburse me as promised.
 

Greenescapist

Cyburbian
Messages
1,169
Points
24
I'm a student and after reading all of your messages I feel better about not joining the APA. When I looked at the fee schedule I almost choked.

But, is it really true that you can sit for the AICP exam, pass it and then lose that certification if you don't pay an annual fee? I can see if you let it slip 5 years or so and never take a continuing ed seminar or something... but a big fee every year sounds outrageous.

Does anyone know if you have to be an APA member to go to a conference?
 

Jeff

Cyburbian
Messages
4,161
Points
27
Allright so here's my question.....??

Do you need to take a reinstatement exam to have your AICP reinstated after failing to pay dues?

Maybe someone can lead the movement of PAICPBIAPND ... Passed AICP But I Aint Payin No Dues .....
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
30
SlaveToTheGrind said:
As long as my employer pays, I will be in the APA and AICP. If that ever drops, I will not pay the dues. All is does is send me a magazine and I get to put AICP on my business card.
Ditto! The same thing goes for you CIP! Good thing my employer pays both.

Conference attendance is way cheaper if you are a member, especially if you don't live in the US. Internationals can pay for the APA dues and the conference dues for less than what the US members pay just for the conference dues. That's what kept me as an APA member this year (well, that and my AICP).
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
19,966
Points
49
I was an APA member when I was in College (we had to be for "educational value of the conferences" and it was cheep). BUT when I started out, I was not about to pay that amount, now that I have an employer that not only pays for it, but also encourages it, I am back into the APA. I will be here till I get my AICP, and if I move some other place, if they expect me to keep them letters, they pay the dues.
 

plannerkat

Cyburbian
Messages
204
Points
9
Ditto on everyone else. My employer is fairly schizophrenic on the subject of dues & certification. We get $100 per month "incentive pay" for being certified & the city pays AICP dues, but we have to pay APA dues. So it's a bit of a mixed bag.
 

Suburb Repairman

moderator in moderation
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
7,393
Points
33
The only reasons I'm in APA are because I can do it cheap right now since I'm a student and the price is lower the first year out of school. After that, unless my employer pays, forget about it. The Planning Mag has taken a turn for the worse recently and I'm sick of junk mail about siminars.

I didn't realize that you have to re-up with AICP every year, what a load of crap! I guess I'll be putting off sitting for the test as long as possible.

I thought non-profit organizations weren't supposed to make money... Where are all of our dues going?
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
30
plannerkat said:
We get $100 per month "incentive pay" for being certified
Damn! I'd go take the MCIP (the canadian AICP equivalent) if I would get an extra $100/month. That would be all the incentive I need!
 

JNA

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
25,568
Points
59
I paid my own way on APA, AICP, and attending state and national conferences.

AICP - got it to potential improve my job opportunities?
job could care less if I had it or not.
National conference - have only attended 2 in 10 yrs.
State Conferences - may have attended 3 or 4 in 10 yrs.
 

Jeff

Cyburbian
Messages
4,161
Points
27
I'm gonna be footing the bill myself to take the AICP test next year...if I take it.

APA dues, AICP dues, AICP test taking fees, Study guides, etc. I wonder if I even bother. Work could care less, I was only going to take it b/c I got a couple years left until I can take the PE, and nobody else here is eligible to take AICP so it was only going to be a 1 up thing.
 

Cullen

Member
Messages
33
Points
2
I never joined the APA as a student, ands now that I am not in school, and am not in a postion to get the dues paid for me, it does seem expensive. Seeing all of you criticize the APA makes me not feel so bad about not joining as a student, but nonetheless, I feel that maybe it is easier getting a job in the planning field if I did join APA and go to some of their conferences. Does anyone think this might be true, despite any other shortcomings of the organization? As much as one may complain, i think I would rather have a planning job and pay some dues if the job I could get would be more fulfuilling than otherwise. Just wondering about it since I don't know what it is like to have ever been a member.
 

SlaveToTheGrind

Cyburbian
Messages
1,386
Points
25
Mike D. said:
Allright so here's my question.....??

Do you need to take a reinstatement exam to have your AICP reinstated after failing to pay dues?

Maybe someone can lead the movement of PAICPBIAPND ... Passed AICP But I Aint Payin No Dues .....

If you don't pay your dues, you take the test again.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Mike D. said:
I'm gonna be footing the bill myself to take the AICP test next year...if I take it.
At least it looks like the testing cost can be reimbursed through the G.I. Bill. My employer pays perhaps half of the educational and conference programs I attend. I feel that it is my responsibility to keep up to date and continue to learn, so I do more on my own. Almost none of it is through APA. The other organizations - IEDC, ULI and state organizations - offer so many better opportunities. What do I get from APA? a web site with nothing that I find useful, and twelve issues of Planning Magazine. I save more articles from Landscape Architecture, and that only costs $7 an issue.

(My state chapter used to be worthless, but over the past 2-3 years has begun to become a valuable resource. I just want to say that in case any of the people involved in this turn-around are reading this thread. They are doing an excellent job, but still, they are volunteers putting in their own time and talent. The national APA plays no role in the success of state or local programs.)

I would like to see APA do an assessment of the organization in comparison to other national organizations. What is their fee structure, what services do they offer and how are these paid for. How are they staffed? How can APA learn from them and become a valuable resource for the front-line planner?
 

Trail Nazi

Cyburbian
Messages
2,779
Points
24
I finally just let my membership lapse because I just could not afford to keep paying the dues for nothing in return. At least I could read the magazine at work, so I get the "benefits" of belonging without the high fees.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
18,519
Points
69
I really hope someone from APA National is reading these threads. There's nobody from apa.org registered at Cyburbia. and there are only rarely apa.org visitors recorded in the server lots.

Hello ... Hyde Park? Anyone there?
 

PlannerGirl

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
6,377
Points
29
no Dan they dont seem to have any intrest with Planners that work in the trenches, that much is shown in their mag.
 
Messages
5,352
Points
31
Dan said:
I really hope someone from APA National is reading these threads. There's nobody from apa.org registered at Cyburbia. and there are only rarely apa.org visitors recorded in the server lots.

Hello ... Hyde Park? Anyone there?
All of the sentiments raised here will be passed on to APA by a certain Cyburbianite who is on the APA Membership Committee.
 

Jeff

Cyburbian
Messages
4,161
Points
27
Planderella said:
....a certain Cyburbianite who is on the APA Membership Committee.
Can you hook me up with a discount?

Maybe we can all get a group rate or something?
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
18,519
Points
69
Mike D. said:
Maybe someone can lead the movement of PAICPBIAPND ... Passed AICP But I Aint Payin No Dues .....
You could claim that you're a former AICP member, and thus justify the placement of FAICP on your business cards. :D
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
I also dont appreciate as a member, being charged $200 to place a job announcement on their website. Do they actually do $200 worth of work? NO. The web site should be a SERVICE not a money pit.
 

Friend of Flavel

Cyburbian
Messages
30
Points
2
Ditto, ditto, what she said... I belong to APA & passed the AICP exam last year. My employer, a small city, pays the dues for both organizations, as well as the state chapter dues. Very generous. If they didn't pay, though, I'd probably still belong because the planning profession has been bamboozled into thinking that AICP actually means something and many jobs now require the certification. I've always said APA should give its members more free info/publications on the web and serve as an advocacy group for planners & the profession. Sorry folks, APA just ain't worth it !!!
 

PlannerGirl

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
6,377
Points
29
If we all know the APA sucks then what can we, as a group or individuals do?

Ideas anyone?
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
PlannerGirl said:
If we all know the APA sucks then what can we, as a group or individuals do?

Ideas anyone?
Being on the board of 2 organizations that are constantly criticized by the membership (not responsive to nneds, not doing a good enough job, too expensive etc..), the only thing I can suggest is to get and stay involved with the organization.

As a member of the organization, you must be active and ask those elected to run it, to run it in a manner that the membership wants. That means going to AGM's, writing letters, voting in elections, volunteering for committees and organizing events you want to see happen. Change really only can happen from within.

Of course this all goes out the window if you have an SOB of an administrator that can hoodwink the elected officials. :(
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
PlannerGirl, I like your sentiment. I am on several boards and committees already, but because the state APA chapter has, until recently, not been very active, I have not put much into APA. That may start to change as there is a Madison-area group of planners getting together, and I have volunteered to assist the Economic Development section in the future. One thing I do find at the national level, though, is that you almost need to insist to become involved. Staff do not seem to be enthused about getting member input or volunteers, and the boards and committees are sometimes a bit clique-ish.
 

Big Easy King

Cyburbian
Messages
1,361
Points
23
I, too, am dissatisfied with the lack of services, etc. provided by APA for the very expensive membership cost. I hate receiving that renewal invoice!
 
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