BOARDROOM REPORT: November 20, 2019

Real Estate In-Depth | May 2020

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

HGAR Management, Financial & Membership Reports

Treasurer Irene Guanill presented the Treasurer’s Report as of Nov. 1, 2019, which was received and filed for audit.

CEO Richard Haggerty reviewed the HGAR draft first and second quarter of 2019 financial statements, comparing the “actual” versus “budget” amounts. After review and discussion, the Directors approved motions receiving the 2019 first and second quarter HGAR financial statements for filing and for audit.

Past President and Chair of the HGAR Leadership Committee Barry Kramer then sought the confirmation of HGAR Officers for 2020 in accordance with the HGAR Leadership Committee’s Report presented at HGAR’s Annual Members’ Day and Annual Meeting on October 28, 2019. The Slate of Officers are as follows: Gail Fattizzi, as President, Crystal Hawkins Syska, as President Elect, Anthony A. Domathoti, as Treasurer, Irene Guanill, as Secretary, and Ron Garafalo, as Immediate Past President. Thereafter, upon motion duly made, seconded and passed confirming the selection of HGAR Officers, as presented in the Leadership Committee’s Report.

Past President Kramer then presented the report of the HGAR Leadership Committee recommending the following individuals to fill vacancies on the Hudson Gateway Realtor Foundation Board of Trustees: Maryann Tercasio as President, with a term expiring on Dec. 31, 2021; Jeanne Shields as Vice President, with a term expiring on Dec. 31, 2021; Bonnie Koff as Secretary-Treasurer, with a term expiring on Dec. 31, 2021; and Harding Mason and Carol Christiansen, as Trustees, with terms expiring on Dec. 31, 2022. Thereafter, the motion was duly made, seconded and unanimously carried approving the individuals recommended by the HGAR Leadership Committee to fill vacancies of certain officers and trustees on the Board of Trustees of the Hudson Gateway Realtor Foundation.

CEO Haggerty next spoke in reference to NAR’s Core Standards requirements for Realtor Boards and reported that he had filed the required documentation in accordance with NAR’s Core Standards requirements and that same had been approved by NAR.

CEO Haggerty also provided a personnel update to the Directors. He indicated that he had interviewed Jana Currier, who had worked for a large, well-known Orange County brokerage firm, and went on to join Mediacom Communications Corp., a national cable company. He was pleased to announce that Currier would be joining HGAR and would be assisting primarily with “Member Experience.” CEO Haggerty also noted that he will likely be looking to hire three to four additional employees to assist with the Member Success Team.

President Garafalo then presented an update on the implementation of the Strategic Plan. He reported that the five work groups had been appointed and had already met to begin discussing implementation plans. CEO Haggerty noted that Jana Currier would likely be the support person to assist with the Regional Directors and establish more face-to-face meetings in the counties served by HGAR.

Association Counsel John Dolgetta, Esq. then reviewed proposed modifications to the New York MLS, LLC Operating Agreement noting that once approved the Amended and Restated Operating Agreement would be executed simultaneously with the execution of the Services Agreement. After discussion the Directors approved the revisions to the Operating Agreement between HGMLS and MLSLI, as presented to the Directors at this Meeting.

CEO Haggerty then reported on the status of the Services Agreement, which had previously been provided to the Directors the day prior to the meeting and was then reviewed in detail by CEO Haggerty at the meeting. CEO Haggerty pointed out that the Services Agreement had been revised to include reference to four separate categories of expenses and that there would be four separate schedules. After extensive review and discussion, the Directors approved a motion approving the draft Service agreement in principle.

The Directors then passed a motion extending the term of the current employment agreement for CEO Richard Haggerty to coincide with the three term of the Service Agreement, as specified in the Operating Agreement.

Multiple Listing Service

Leah Caro, Manager and Chair of the Board of Managers of New York MLS, then presented to the Directors the names of the two Managers from HGAR to serve on the Board of Managers of New York MLS for the two positions that expire on Dec. 31, 2019. Those individuals are Joe Camaj and Mark Boyland, who would each be serving two-year terms. Caro noted that she and Renee Zurlo, each currently serving for a two-year term, will be serving until Dec. 31, 2020. The Directors approved Mark Boyland and Joe Camaj to serve on Board of Managers for New York MLS for a two-year term to run from Jan. 1, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2021.

Caro also reported that the launch of OneKey MLS was tentatively projected for on or about Jan. 1, 2020, subject to the finalization of the Services Agreement. In addition, Caro reported that the Board of Managers had also established a compensation policy as provided for in the Operating Agreement. She reported that the Board of Managers decided that only the “Outside Managers” would receive compensation up to $2,000 and reimbursement of reasonable expenses. The Directors approved the compensation policy for outside Managers as presented.

Communications and Member Services
Director Debra Budetti, Communications Council Chair, reported on several events being held. Past President Barry Kramer recognized Director Budetti’s efforts and contributions to the recently held WRO Gala.

Education Council

Education Council Vice Chairperson Irene Guanill took a moment to thank Vicki D’Agostino for all her hard work and efforts in connection with the education program. Guanill noted that a fair housing training course for the faculty will be offered in January; this was scheduled prior to the Newsday article but is now even more important. She also noted that a Virtual Card at a cost of $175 would be offered to the membership for the full 22 1⁄2 hours of continuing education and would be valid for one year. She mentioned that anyone who purchases the Virtual Card would be benefitting from a discount of $50 (which is already reflected in the $175 price). Director Guanill also reported that the School of Real Estate was now offering an expedited 10-day Salespersons Licensing Course.

Professional Standards Council

Professional Standards Chair Roberta Bangs and Director of Legal Services Brian Levine, Esq., presented the Professional Standards Committee report. Chairperson Bangs reported that as of Nov. 20, 2019, there were three new ethics complaints that have been filed since the last Board Meeting; five ethics matters were heard by the Grievance Committee, all were approved for hearings; and there have been three ethics hearings that have been conducted to conclusion. Five ethics decisions were not appealed and are being presented to the Board for approval. She noted that there are 12 ethics complaints pending, five of which are being held in abeyance awaiting the resolution of related actions.

Chairperson Bangs further reported that as of Nov. 20, 2019, there were two new arbitrations filed; one was approved by the Grievance Committee; one will go to the Grievance Committee at its next scheduled meeting; one arbitration matter went to mediation and was resolved; and one arbitration matter went to mediation and was not resolved. The latter will be sent forward for a Professional Standards hearing. There are currently five arbitration matters actively pending.

In-House Counsel and Director of Legal Services Levine then presented the latest Ethics Decisions to the Board of Directors. After review and separate votes, the Directors respectively approved ethics decisions designated as 257-E, 258-E, 259-E, 260-E and 261-E.

Legislative Council

Director and Legislative Vice Chair Clayton Livingston and Director of Legislative Affairs Philip Weiden then presented the Legislative Council update. Weiden, just returning from a meeting at Westchester County’s Human Rights Division, indicated that 234 cooperative apartment application rejections had been reported to the Human Rights Division and reported that Westchester County Legislator Catherine Borgia is going to reintroduce a bill in the coming year requiring cooperative corporation boards to provide a reason for the rejection of an applicant. Weiden also noted that the Human Rights Division was looking to add another person to its staff.

RPAC

Director Richard Herska and Secretary Crystal Hawkins Syska, in their capacity as RPAC Co- Chairs, presented the RPAC update. RPAC Co-Chair Herska was pleased to report that as of November 1, 81% of the annual RPAC goal had been met and approximately $178,561 had been raised to date. RPAC Co-Chair Hawkins Syska also reported that there were 2,894 contributors (out of goal 3,815) which represents a 76% participation rate. Hawkins Syska also noted that $11,000 was raised at the RPAC Luncheon at HGAR’s Annual Member’s Day.

CEO Haggerty then made a request of the HGAR Board of Directors to consider a contribution of $5,000 to RPAC from its reserves. CEO Haggerty pointed out that he did confirm that associations and MLSs are permitted to make contributions to RPAC and that, in fact, many do make contributions to RPAC, and the Directors approved a $5,000 contribution.

Fair Housing and Cultural Diversity

Directors and Fair Housing and Cultural Diversity Co-Chairs Dorothy Botsoe and Eydie Lopez, on behalf of the Fair Housing and Cultural Diversity Committee, presented its report. Directors Botsoe and Lopez reported the HGAR International Night event held on November 18th was a success, with more than 100 attendees. They reported that the speakers and performers were exceptional, and they thanked all the committee members who assisted with the event.

CEO Haggerty then reported on the recent Newsday article that uncovered widespread discrimination taking place on Long Island. Newsday’s investigation spanned over a period of three years and it highlighted the widespread discrimination engaged in by various agents and notable brokerage firms. As part of its investigation, Newsday also audited classes provided by the Long Island Board of Realtors, Inc. and it was discovered that the courses focused on fair housing were severely lacking in content, and did not meet the mandatory minimum number of hours required under New York State Department of State continuing education guidelines. CEO Haggerty pointed out that the Newsday piece was excellently done and that it is to be utilized as a tool to teach about discrimination and to end discrimination in real estate. He noted that this should be welcomed as an opportunity to learn and to raise the bar in the industry. Haggerty pointed out that HGAR will be reviewing its own course materials and content, and will be looking to implement additional courses, such as “training the trainer” courses for the faculty, as well as provide additional tools and resources to its members and brokerage firms. CEO Haggerty also made reference to NAR’s new Clear Cooperation Policy and indicated that this new policy will promote more transparency and will, in the long run, protect against discrimination.

Global Business Council

Director Robert Shandley, in his capacity as Chairperson of the Global Business Council, reported on the success of recent events such as the Global Summit held on November 4th at the New York Marriot Marquis in New York City and the Cultural Etiquette Panel, which was moderated by Director Dorothy Botsoe, at HGAR’s Annual Meeting and Members’ Day.

Commercial Investment Division

Director of Marketing Cathleen Stack presented the report on behalf of the Commercial & Investment Division (“CID”). Stack reported that the CID event held on October 31st, where representatives from Robert Martin Co., including Tim Jones, CEO of Robert Martin, were present, was very successful. She also noted that a CID event was scheduled for the following day focused on economic and real estate development in New Rochelle, and would be featuring the Development Commissioner of New Rochelle, Luis Aragon.

Women’s Council of Realtors
Women’s Council President Angie Primus, on behalf of the Westchester Women’s Council of Realtors, reported on the council’s Installation and the newly elected officers. She noted that Nancy Hertz would be President of the Women’s Council in 2020. Primus reminded the Directors that there is a Member Appreciation Breakfast scheduled for December 16th. She further noted that Roseann Paggiotta will be serving as Women’s Council President for NYSAR in 2020. President Primus also thanked everyone who supported her throughout the 2019 year.

HG Realtor Foundation
Director Maryann Tercasio presented a report on the HG Realtor Foundation. Director Tercasio noted that the HG Realtor Foundation still has additional funds to be donated to local charities and not-for-profit organizations and will be meeting in December to make those allocations. She also reminded the Directors about the HG Foundation Holiday Party scheduled for December 5th at the Renaissance Westchester Hotel, West Harrison, NY.