The first to quit AICP?

Former Assistant Secretary of HUD Quits
AICP Over Certification Maintenance

We are very saddened to learn that planning legend Jack Stokvis, a highly honored former Assistant Secretary of HUD, has quit AICP due to adoption of Certification Maintenance. His decision did not come out of the blue. He had written to the Commission opposing CM, but like so many others, was ignored by the Commission. Despite our best efforts to dissuade him when he sent us a copy of his resignation email, Mr. Stokvis would not change his mind. He gave us permission to post his letter here.

It’s a sad day indeed when a professional planner of his stature is so moved to quit the organization to which he has belonged for 35 years. He sure has guts and resolve. Hopefully he will reconsider and work from within to achieve the electoral solution needed to repeal this ill–advised, costly, and ineffectual requirement.

We respect Mr. Stokvis’ decision. It’s clearly the right one for him given his feelings on the matter. We just hope enough AICP members who favor voluntary continuing education stay in AICP to achieve the reforms needed through the electoral process.

15 May 2007

Dear APA and AICP:

I have been a member of APA and AICP since 1972, held many urban planning positions in several New Jersey communities, given dozens of speeches about planning and development issues, written widely about urban planning, received several planning awards, taught urban planning at George Washington, Columbia and Rutgers Universities, and been honored to serve as Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Washington, DC during the 1980s.

After I learned about what I consider an ill-conceived “Certification Maintenance” plan for AICP membership, I wrote several emails (please see below) protesting the proposal which I feel will not improve the status of urban planning nor the quality of urban planner knowledge, but instead will undermine both APA and AICP.

Now that AICP has instituted such a plan, after reevaluating the benefits of remaining an APA and AICP member,  I concluded that I must immediately cancel my 35 year membership in APA/AICP.

Therefore, please refund the prorated membership dues to me.

Thank you,

Jack R. Stokvis, PP


Dear AICP:

If the “Certification maintenance” proposal is enacted by AICP, I shall immediately cancel my memberships in both APA and AICP as it will simply raise membership costs, give members nothing in return, and would be disastrous for APA and AICP. Furthermore, until I received an email recently from Daniel Lauber on this matter, I knew absolutely nothing about the proposal. IMHO, that proves that AICP/APA is isolated from its membership, not politically astute, and is financially reckless.

I sincerely hope that you will reconsider and reject this ill-considered idea. From my long professional planning career at both the local and national level, I have never found that ‘certification’ ensures competence but instead, creates a false sense of quality and creates large bureaucracy to monitor the program. I was ‘certified’ a “Professional Planner” by the State of New Jersey when I started my career, and all it has ensured were continual charges without adding any value at all.


Jack R. Stokvis, AICP, PP

(Former Assistant Secretary for Community PLANNING and Development, US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Washington, DC)