PBUS Summer Conference Concludes

Thursday, August 1, 2013


By Michael J. Whitlock


New Orleans, LA – It was Tuesday, the third day of the PBUS conference.  As a PBUS instructor, I was assigned to teach the course on Legislation.  Gene Newman is the Education Chair and usually comes to each class to thank everyone for attending and remind them of the importance of education.


It is also Gene’s routine to tell my students I know everything there is to know about the legislation process, as if I invented it.  The real truth is, I’m constantly learning new elements and facets of the politics, procedures and maneuvers of state house politics.


In the afternoon of that third day of the conference, I attended the meeting of the Council of Presidents.  This meeting always packs them in.  Why is this important to note?  While I can read state legislative updates if necessary, it’s always best to hear straight from the state bail representatives what exactly took place in their legislature this year.


The general theme among the states is government intervention in the private sector.  The courts need the money and they’re willing to sacrifice a superior form of release if it suits their purpose.  I’ve written about this issue often.


There were more CBA classes and seminars on Tuesday and Wednesday.  One in particular was Awareness and Risks for Apprehending a Fugitive presented by former NYPD Detective Lewis Lilla, Attorney Steven Zalewski and Recovery Agent Chris Seiden.  Knowing the law and the bail and recovery agent’s limitations of authority,will keep you out of trouble and out of court.


The PBUS Summer Conference official adjourned.


I’m glad I attended this conference, though I can’t recall the last one I missed.  I always enjoy seeing and visiting with bail agents from all over the country, all in one setting.  I’ve met so many good people in this profession ,many of whom I’ve met at industry meetings.  You will never regret attending one of these conferences.


I took a lot of pictures and one video.  Click on the links below to view either or both.  Also, I would like to hear your comments on the meeting particularly if you attended.  What was your favorite part of this year’s summer conference?  Are you satisfied with the direction PBUS has taken?


I’m home for ten days before heading for Texas for the 24th Annual Steven G. Whitlock Memorial Golf Tournament August 14 and the 3rd Quarter Meeting of the Professional Bondsmen of Texas August 15 and 16.  It’s going to be a great week.  I hope to see you there.


Click to view pictures from 2013 PBUS Summer Conference in New Orleans

Click to view a video of the PBUS parade down Bourbon Street



PBUS – New Orleans – Day 2 – The Parade

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

By Michael J. Whitlock

New Orleans, LA – The cocktail party was held in the courtyard of the Royal Sonesta Hotel.  There were wall to wall people and I felt like a lobster being steamed to temperature.  I was surviving and embolding myself to sign up for the survivor show, Naked and Afraid.  


I was doing my best Peter Parker routine as the self designated event photographer, trying to get pictures of everybody.


The parade down Bourbon Street was just a few minutes away and it couldn’t come any sooner.  At least Bourbon Street would have some semblance of a breeze.


The second day of our national bail agent conference began at 8:15 a.m. with a welcome speech by the Mayor of New Orleans followed by a dissection of the University of Texas Dallas study by Dr. Robert Morris.


The final diagnosis was commercial bonds are more conducive to appearance in court.  It’s nice to have a study to back what I already knew as fact.  Dr. Morris reached this conclusion after analyzing huge amounts of data gathered from the Dallas County courts.  Dallas County spends roughly 100 million dollars annually jailing defendants.


I had a tasty lunch at Gumbo Shop off St. Peter Street with Jared Skelton, Tom Anderson and Randy Adler. It’s amazing how everyone has to step to the men’s room just as the bill arrives.  As it happens, I got back to the table first.


After lunch I sat in on a presentation entitled How to Challenge Pretrial Advocates: The Fallacies of Their Risk Assessment. Attorney Nick Wachinski and ABC Executive Director Dennis Bartlett broke down overrated risk assessment tools employed by public pretrial release agencies.  

The program in Philadelphia was central to their discussion.  That City of Brotherly Love has been undergoing an overhaul of its criminal justice system for the past couple of years after decades of mismanagement.  Commercial Bail is a component of the new structure, as it should be.


There were several other seminars in the afternoon which I was unable to attend due to a meeting of the American Bail Coalition.  ABC typically holds a meeting while we’re all in town for PBUS meetings.  Why not?  We’re all there anyway and conference calls just don’t have the same personal affect.  For example how often do my contemporaries get to see me in a pair of shorts?  Pat Wood has nothing on me (inside joke).


Oh yeah, the parade.  The open bar was shut down and we all proceeded to Bourbon Street to find a police escort for our 15 minute walk over to The Court of Two Sisters to have dinner.  As parade’s go, this one was pretty impressive.  PBUS had its own banner and the tail of bail agents was two blocks long.  Those looking on didn’t know who we were but who doesn’t like a parade. They happily snatched up the beads being thrown their way.


PBUS filled the Two Sisters restaurant to capacity.  It was a pleasant evening.


If you’re wondering how PBUS is dong these days, I can attest they’re doing pretty well.  Attendance is up, meeting content is much improved and they have money in the bank.  If you’re not at this meeting you should plan on attending the 2014 Winter Conference in Las Vegas because you’re missing out.

The meeting’s not over yet.  I teach a class on legislation this morning at 8:30 a.m.  More meetings today, including the Council of (state) Presidents Meeting which is always interesting.  I’ll be sure to let you know if anything interesting happens.

PBUS – New Orleans – Day 1

Monday, July 29, 2013

By Michael J. Whitlock

New Orleans, LA – The PBUS Summer Conference got off to a good start on Sunday with a morning round of golf at Audubon Park Golf Course.  I was obligated to participate and enjoyed each and every shot.  Louisiana’s own Guy Ruggerio was the host for this event and did an excellent job of it.


The day was not all fun and games, well, most of it would be.  We did have to fit in the Board of Directors Meeting in the early afternoon.  Everyone was all smiles when it was reported the country’s national bail agent association was in the black for the second year in a row.  

Current PBUS President Scott announced his intention to run for a second term.  I’m hearing PBUS Senior Vice President Beth Chapman will be running in opposition.  That should make for a barn burner of an election next year.

Later in the evening, Tom Anderson and I hosted a dinner of American Surety Company and Underwriters Surety, Inc. agents at Commander’s Palace in the Garden District of New Orleans.  Perhaps the best five course meal I’ve ever eaten. My slice of Cream Cheese Cake was a meal in itself.

We had bail agents in from Connecticut, Kansas, Louisiana, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington.  It’s always a pleasure to show our appreciation to our business partners whenever possible. There were no complaints.


The conference gets to it today with several seminars, membership meeting and a parade down Bourbon Street tonight. That will be anything but boring and you know I’ll get pictures. :)