BOARDROOM REPORT: January 22, 2020
Real Estate In-Depth | July 2020
Boards of Directors
Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, Inc. (HGAR)
January 22, 2020
Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz, New York
HGAR Management, Financial & Membership Reports
Counsel for the Corporation John Dolgetta, Esq., delivered the Annual Orientation on the legal and fiduciary duties and responsibilities of Officers and Directors. In that regard, Dolgetta reviewed the various policies of HGAR and numerous related forms and documents. He discussed in detail, among other topics, the fiduciary duties and legal obligations of Directors and Officers, HGAR’s Antitrust Policy, Whistleblower Policy and recently enacted New York State Sexual Harassment Policy. The Directors and Officers were also provided with a copy of HGAR’s Bylaws and an article authored by Dolgetta entitled “Fiduciary Duties of Boards of Directors in the Real Estate Industry.” Dolgetta instructed the Directors and Officers to execute and return at the end of the meeting only those forms that require signature.
CEO Richard Haggerty presented the Treasurer’s Report as of January 1, 2020. Being the first meeting of the year, Haggerty explained, in greater detail given the presence of newly appointed Directors, the components of the monthly report. He stressed that it was a monthly “snapshot” of the finances of HGAR. After discussion, the Directors approved a motion receiving the January Cash Report.
Haggerty then presented the CEO Update. The Directors and Officers were provided with the 2020 Memberships & Dues Receipts, Budget vs. Actual handout. Haggerty indicated that projected budgeted dues income to March 31, 2020 is $2,088,379 based on a projected total of 11,011 members. Haggerty pointed out that as of Dec. 4, 2019, 12,207 members were invoiced for a total amount of $2,585,569, and noted that as of Jan. 15, 2020, 7,860 members had paid dues totaling $1,435,989.
President Gail Fattizzi then reported that there were two vacancies on the NYSAR Board of Directors that were required to be filled by the Board of Directors. She reported that HGAR Directors T. Teresa Bellmore and Maurice Owen-Michaane expressed a desire to serve as NYSAR Directors, and approved their appointment as NYSAR Directors.
In-House Counsel and Director of Legal Services Brian Levine, Esq. then presented Ethics Decision 262-E, which was provided to each of the Directors prior to the meeting. After review and discussion, the Directors confirmed the recommendation of the Hearing Panel. Levine further reported that a Professional Standards Training Session would be held on Feb. 19, 2020 and that it would include 7.5 Continuing Education credits.
Haggerty then provided to the Directors and Officers an “Overview of Director Responsibilities in Professional Standards Enforcement.” The Directors and Officers were provided a handout containing relevant sections (Sections 22 and 23) of the Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual (“Arbitration Manual”). CEO Haggerty explained that while Board of Directors may act as a “safety valve” in instances where a Hearing Panel did not act in accordance with the requirements of the Arbitration Manual and dismiss certain decisions based on certain procedural defects, the Board of Directors cannot increase sanctions imposed by a hearing panel. He further explained that if an appeal is filed, a panel of five (5) HGAR Directors would be empaneled for the sole purpose of conducting a procedural review.
Strategic Plan Task Force Reports
President Fattizzi then asked the leaders from each of the five (5) Strategic Plan Task Forces to provide an update to the Directors and Officers.
President Elect Crystal Hawkins Syska presented the report on behalf of the Advocacy Task Force. She indicated that the Advocacy Task Force held its first meeting. Its focus was to work with the Leadership Task Force and the Engagement Task Force to increase the awareness of advocacy issues to two distinct groups, members of HGAR and the members of the public, and also to highlight the distinction between “real estate agents” and “Realtors.”
COO Ann Garti, on behalf of the Leadership Task Force, presented its report. She discussed in detail the new HGAR Leadership Accelerator Program developed by the Leadership Task Force. The Directors were provided with a handout highlighting the ten (10) required segments of the Accelerator Program curriculum. COO Garti stressed the importance of the program in identifying new people to serve as Directors, Officers, and other leadership positions in the future. The proposed tuition cost per student is approximately $250 and the initial class would consist of approximately 12-15 students. After discussion the Directors approved the Accelerator Program in concept.
Director Carmen Bauman presented the report on behalf of the Professional Development Task Force. The Professional Development Task Force at its initial meeting focused on several specific objectives, among others, for the upcoming year: (i) a compliance day for Broker/Owner/Managers; and (ii) focus on and promote NAR’s Commitment to Excellence (C2X) Program.
Director of Member Engagement Jana Currier presented the report of the Engagement Task Force on behalf of Task Force Leader Marcene Hedayati. Currier highlighted several key items discussed at the Engagement Task Force meeting such as implementation of an “organizational listening” program and procuring member data feedback by sending short surveys to members after each event. A Broker/Owner/Manager Tool Kit, which will also include a Fair Housing Toolkit, is being launched at the Fair Housing event scheduled for March 18th.
Director Debra Budetti presented the report of the Success Task Force. Budetti pointed out that the Success Task Force recommended the implementation of brief surveys of members/callers after any Zen Desk interaction. The Success Task Force also considered several new ideas, such as monthly podcasts, development of a phone app, providing members with the opportunity to meet with staff, increased exposure in Real Estate In-Depth, and informational email blasts to HGAR’s members.
Fair Housing Task Force
Co-Chairs of the newly formed Fair Housing Task Force, Leah Caro and Dorothy Botsoe, presented the report of the Fair Housing Task Force and indicated that the Task Force had already met twice. Caro and Botsoe stressed the importance of getting information relating to fair housing issues out to all HGAR members. They also discussed the “Letter of Support” prepared by HGAR staff at the direction of the Task Force, a copy of which was provided to all of the Directors and Officers at the meeting. The letter highlighted HGAR’s broad support for the recommendations made by the New York State Board of Real Estate concerning new initiatives to combat discrimination and further fair housing training and education. However, the statement expressed concern with one of the recommendations, which requires the video recording and preservation of any and all instruction pertaining to fair housing and/or discrimination. It is our position that the recording of classes would inhibit the flow of ideas and diminish the effectiveness of the classroom experience.
Regional Director for Rockland and Chair of YPN Richard Herska provided a report on relaunching of the YPN. Herska indicated that several items are being considered for the upcoming year, such as providing a “Start-up Toolkit” to all new members, developing new and exciting events throughout the year, developing community service projects (e.g., Habitat for Humanity, etc.), and establishing a partnership with NAR’s YPN network. Director Herska further reported that the first YPN event would be held on February 5th at the Doubletree hotel in Tarrytown.
OneKey MLS, LLC Board of Manager Chair Caro and CEO Haggerty provided a status report on OneKey MLS, LLC. Haggerty reported that there would be a soft launch of OneKey MLS in mid-February and that a hard launch was tentatively scheduled for the first week of March. He reported that the Services Agreement had been finalized but had to be formally approved by both the Executive Committees and Boards of Directors of LIBOR and MLSLI. Caro further reported that a letter from Jim Speer, CEO OneKey MLS, a copy of which was provided to the Directors and Officers at the meeting, was sent to all Participants of HGMLS and MLSLI informing them about the launch and detailing the fee structure.