BOARDROOM REPORT: March 20, 2019

Real Estate In-Depth | June 2019

Boardroom Report
Boards of Directors
Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, Inc. (HGAR)
March 20, 2019
HGAR offices, White Plains, New York

HGAR Management, Financial & Membership Reports

President Ron Garafalo reiterated his goals of raising the bar and level of professionalism by promoting NAR’s Commitment to Excellence program. He further reported on HGAR’s update to its Strategic Planning Initiative and indicated that Ron Phipps, a real estate industry expert and who was also the President of NAR in 2011, had been chosen as the facilitator for the strategic planning process.

President Garafalo reported on the individuals who were appointed to serve as Members of the Leadership Committee. The individuals are Barry Kramer, Immediate Past President (Chairman), Harding Mason, Katheryn DeClerck (two past Presidents), Alvis Smith, Angie Primus, Clayton Livingston and Tony D’Anzica. The Directors confirmed the members of the Leadership Committee. President Garafalo then reported on the individuals who were appointed to serve as Members of the Finance Committee. The individuals are Irene Guanill, as Chairman (HGAR Treasurer), Phyllis Lerner as designee of the Education Council, Members at Large Gail Fattizzi, Maryann Tercascio, David Moore, and Joseph Lippolis, and Garafalo, as Ex Officio Member. The Directors confirmed the members of the Leadership Committee.

CEO Richard K. Haggerty then reported on HGAR personnel changes, advising that Brian Levine, Esq. had been hired as In-House Legal Counsel and the Professional Standards Administrator, and Diane Vielman has been hired at the Goshen office. Haggerty further reported that a new phone answering procedure will be put into effect, utilizing a product called “Zen Desk.” Seven individuals (the Member Success Team) will be crossed trained to handle all of the basic questions callers may have (i.e., membership, education, etc.) and will do so on a rotating basis. They will also be trained to handle e-mail inquiries and eventually “e-chat” inquiries.

President Garafalo reported that the new website,, will be live soon with a launch to take place at the Broker Owner/Manager Meeting on April 2, 2019. Tracy Weir of August Partners  gave an extensive demonstration during the meeting via video/conference call.

CEO Haggerty then provided an update on expansion efforts in Manhattan and also introduced Jeff Doder to the Board of Directors, who was recently hired by HGAR as an independent contractor and consultant. Doder has been instrumental in setting up meetings with key real estate firms and people in Manhattan. The Manhattan Broker/Owners will be invited to the Data Summit, which is projected to be held in late May after the legislative meetings to be held in Washington, D.C.

Regional Director Eydie Lopez reported on several events, which will take place in Orange County including a legal update on Monday, March 25th, at which HGAR President, Garafalo, and HGMLS President Renee Zurlo, will speak. President Garafalo indicated that he will follow up with the other Regional Directors to try to encourage they arrange events in their areas.

Secretary/Treasurer Guanill presented the Treasurer’s Report on behalf of HGAR including the bank and investment summaries for February 1st and March 1st, and the Directors approved receipt of the Cash Reports.

Communications and Member Services

Mary Prenon, HGAR Director of Communications, on behalf of the Communications Council, reported that Members’ Day will be held on October 28, 2019 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Tarrytown. Director Rey Hollingsworth reported that additional Broker Owners/Managers events will be announced soon. Don Cummins and Roseann Farrow will speak at the “Risk Management for Brokers, Owners and Managers” event at the DoubleTree Hotel to be held on April 2nd.


Treasurer Guanill Elukowich, in her capacity as Education Council Vice Chairperson, provided a report on goal planning for the Education Council.

Legislative, Political and Legal Issues

Director Clayton Livingston delivered a report on behalf of the Legislative Council, advising that the Legislative Council held a meeting on March 18, 2019. He noted that the annual visit to Albany for Lobby Day is going to be on May 7th. Director Livingston updated the Board on many key issues, such as the property tax cap, the “Pied-`a Terre” tax introduced by Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, the broker commission cap on rentals and security deposit issues being introduced in New York City, changes to rent guidelines, removal of the luxury threshold involving rent controlled units, long term vacancy “bump up” issues, and rent freeze on rental units, among others. CEO Haggerty indicated that it may be appropriate to create a sub-committee to deal with New York City issues in particular.

Secretary Crystal Hawkins Syska, in her capacity as RPAC Co-Chair, presented an RPAC update advising that HGAR’s RPAC goal is $219,177 and to date $113,000 has been given which equals 52% of the goal. She also reported that RPAC would be holding several events throughout the year that will be available on HGAR’s calendar of events.

Fair Housing and Cultural Diversity

Director Eydie Lopez reported on several Fair Housing events coming up, with the next event being “Play by the Rules or Pay the Consequences” at the DoubleTree Hotel on April 29th. The key speakers are industry leaders who spoke at the NYSAR Fair Housing meeting.

Global Business Council

Director Robert Shandley, on behalf of the Global Business Council, briefly reported that there have been two meetings in 2019 so far.

Professional Standards

CEO Haggerty and Professional Standards Council Chair Roberta Bangs presented Ethics Decisions, delivered a brief update on the recent meeting of the HGAR Grievance Committee and advised that the Committee had approved seven ethics complaints for a hearing.

Leon Cameron, Director of Legal Services and Professional Standards Administrator, then presented Ethics Decisions designated as 250-E, 251-E, 252-E and 253-E. After review and discussion, the Directors individually confirmed each of the ethics decisions.

Multiple Listing Service

HGMLS President Renee Zurlo, delivered an update concerning New York MLS, LLC. The Rules and Regulations work group has completed the merged set of Rules and Regulations for New York MLS, LLC, which are now being reviewed by the Board of Managers and/or attorneys. President Zurlo reported that the new name of the MLS has been chosen but is not yet being revealed. The “reveal date” will be announced in the near future. The branding and logo are currently being worked on by the design company. She further reported that there is a video about the merger on the website. Behind the scenes, Corelogic and Stratus are coordinating the mapping of common fields and have taken a bit longer than expected. It is anticipated that the new launch date is most likely late summer. President Zurlo also reported that the Services Agreement is still being revised.

Commercial and Investment Division

Director John Barrett, on behalf of the Commercial & Investment Division, reported on their upcoming events as well. He indicated that Theresa Hatton has been critical in making the CID much more flexible and topical. Director Barrett also reported on the success of the recent event focused on the gas moratorium. HGAR Director of Professional Development and Industry Relations, Theresa Hatton, provided a recap of MIPIM, one of the largest commercial real estate conferences in the world with over 25,000 attendees, and prepared a detailed report which was emailed to the Directors prior to the meeting.


Women’s Council of Realtors President Angie Primus Gilford invited all to attend the WCR Empire Chapter “Reach for the Stars” fundraising event on May 9th. She also reported on the first event of the year held on Feb. 25, 2019, “Transformation and Being Heart Healthy is Good for Business,” which was presented by Mary Prenon, HGAR’s Director of Communications, and author of the recently released book “I’m Lazy and I Love to Eat.”