BOARDROOM REPORT: September 11, 2019

Real Estate In-Depth | December 2019

Boardroom Report
Boards of Directors
Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, Inc. (HGAR)
September 11, 2019
HGAR offices, White Plains, New York

HGAR Management, Financial & Membership Reports

President Ron Garafalo presented the President’s Report and reported on the Strategic Plan (the “Plan”) which was emailed to the Directors prior to the meeting. He reported that the Strategic Planning sessions held on June 13th and 14th at the Mohonk Mountain House Resort in Ulster County went very well and received a lot of positive feedback from those who participated. President Garafalo then provided a detailed explanation of the new Strategic Plan.

He noted that the Plan would be a two-year plan that would run from 2020 to 2022 and asked several members of the Executive Committee to discuss briefly each of the five different “pillars” of the Plan: (1) Advocacy (Barry Kramer), (2) Leadership (Irene Guanill), (3) Professional Development (Gail Fattizzi), (4) Engagement (Ron Garafalo), and (5) Success (Crystal Hawkins Syska). President Garafalo indicated that he would commence setting up work groups for each of the five pillars immediately and explained that there will be a liaison or facilitator, who would facilitate a path for communication between each of the groups, the Executive Staff, Members of the Executive Committee, and the Board of Directors. He was pleased to announce that President-Elect Gail Fattizzi would be the facilitator for the remainder of this year and that he would serve in that role for 2020.

President Garafalo also reported to the Directors that as part of the Strategic Plan initiative, it was recommended that the current “Vision” of the organization (i.e. “HGAR Makes Members Their Best”) be slightly modified to reflect the following: “HGAR empowers REALTORS® to be their Best.” Upon motions duly made, seconded and unanimously carried, the Strategic Plan for 2020 through 2022 was approved.

Treasurer Irene Guanill presented the Treasurer’s Report on behalf of HGAR including the bank and investment summaries for July 1st, August 1st and September 1st and the Directors approved receipt of the three Cash Reports.

Immediate Past President and Chair of the Leadership Committee Barry Kramer presented the Report of the HGAR Leadership Committee, which is also to be presented to the Membership at the HGAR Annual Meeting to be held on October 28, 2019, a copy of which was provided to the Directors in advance. Mr. Kramer noted that this report was not a voting item. He explained that the slate of Directors would be voted on at the Annual Meeting, and that the Officers would be voted on and approved at the Meeting of the HGAR Board of Directors immediately following the Annual Meeting, in accordance with the Bylaws.

In connection with the vacancies arising from a resignation of the Westchester Regional Director, Leadership Committee Chair Kramer reported that the Leadership Committee has recommended two individuals, Theresa Crozier, who will be taking over Ms. DeCesare’s position, as Westchester Regional Director, and Roseanne Paggiotta, who will be taking over Ms. Crozier’s position, as Director at Large. Upon motions duly made, seconded and carried, with abstention(s) by the individual(s) so nominated, as applicable, the Directors adopted the Leadership Committees recommendations.

Leadership Committee Chair Kramer also reported that the Leadership Committee has recommended the following individuals to serve on the Board of Directors of the New York State Association Realtors for the designated terms: Kazuko H. Boylan (2019-2021), Debra Budetti (2020-2022), Carol Christiansen (2020-2022), Laurie DiFrancesco (2018-2020), Anthony A. Domathoti (2020-2022), Sarah Hughes (2020-2022), Pamela Jones (2020-2022), Carol A. Kope (2020-2022), Clayton C. Livingston (2020-2022), Angie Primus Gilford (2020-2022), Maryann Tercasio (2019-2021) and Cheryl T. Williams (2020-2022), and the Directors confirmed the Leadership Committees recommendations.

The Directors also approved contributions of $2,500 each to the NYSAR Education Foundation and the NYSAR Housing Opportunities Foundation.

President Garafalo was also pleased to announce that Bonnie Koff would be receiving the NYSAR Community Service Award.

Communications and Member Services

Director Debra Budetti, in her capacity as Communications Council Chair, reported on several events being held. Director Budetti announced that all of the booths at HGAR’s Members’ Day, being held on at the Double Tree Hotel on October 28, 2019, were sold out.

Director Rey Hollingsworth Falu also reminded the Directors of the Broker/Owner/Manager seminar, “Learn All About Your New Regional MLS,” to be held on October 10, 2019, also at the Double Tree Hotel. He also reminded the Directors to review the calendar of events listed on the Agenda.


Education Council Vice Chairperson Guanill reported that the annual enrollment goal for the School of Real Estate for 2019 was 5,975, and was pleased to announce that the enrollment figure as of the end of August was 6,639. She noted that weekend classes have begun and that they are being well-received. Ms. Guanill reminded the Directors that there are several flyers in the HGAR office lobby regarding upcoming courses being offered by the School of Real Estate (e.g., designation courses, SRES, GRI, etc.).

Legislative, Political and Legal Issues

Director Clayton Livingston delivered a report on behalf of the Legislative Council. He reported on developments at the national level to end federal control over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Immediate Past President Kramer also noted that as of the end of August, there had been 160 denials of purchasers of cooperative apartments filed with the Westchester Human Rights Division in connection with the recently enacted Westchester Coop Disclosure legislation.

Secretary Crystal Hawkins Syska, in her capacity as RPAC Co-Chair, presented the RPAC update. RPAC Co-Chair Hawkins Syska was pleased to report that as of September 1st, 67% of the annual RPAC goal had been met and approximately $146,134 had been raised to date and noted that an additional $15,000 was recently raised in connection with a RPAC fundraising phone campaign. She also reported that RPAC would be holding several events throughout the remainder of the year and applicable dates would be available on HGAR’s calendar of events and were also included in the Meeting Agenda. Ms. Hawkins Syska noted that a holiday gathering was also being organized for Mid-November at La Fontana in Nyack with details to follow.

Fair Housing and Cultural Diversity

Regional Director Eydie Lopez, in her capacity as Co-Chair of the Fair Housing & Cultural Diversity Committee, reported that the committee would be meeting with the Global Business Council later in the day regarding co-sponsoring an event in the Fall. She reported that the WRO Gala was being held at the Vintage Restaurant on October 24. There was also a request made of the Board of Directors to consider a platinum sponsorship of the WRO Gala at a cost of $5,000, which the Directors approved.

Global Business Council

Director Robert Shandley, in his capacity as Chairperson of the Global Business Council, reminded the Directors that the Global Summit would be held on November 4th at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City. He also reported that there would be a Cultural Etiquette Panel presented by the Global Business Council at HGAR’s Annual Meeting and Members’ Day to discuss cultural differences and issues relating to doing business in different areas of the world, and with individuals of diverse ethnic and national backgrounds. He also reported that the visit to the United Nations, organized by the Global Business Council, was a success.

Professional Standards

Professional Standards Chair Roberta Bangs presented the Professional Standards Committee report. She reported that as of September 11, 2019, there are thirty (30) total actions pending at this time. There were sixteen (16) newly reported ethics actions brought during this period, thirteen (13) of which were approved by the Grievance Committee for Panel Hearings, and three (3) of which were dismissed. Seven (7) ethics matters were resolved prior to a Professional Standards hearing during this period. Overall, there are presently eighteen (18) outstanding ethics complaints pending, five of which are on hold due to DOS or other legal proceedings. Ms. Bangs further reported that there were eight (8) newly reported arbitration actions brought during this period, all of which were approved by the Grievance Committee for Panel Hearings. Three (3) arbitrable matters were resolved prior to mediation during this period. Overall, there are presently twelve (12) outstanding arbitration actions pending, eight (8) of which are scheduled for mandatory mediation

Multiple Listing Service

Ms. Leah Caro, Chair of the Board of Managers of New York MLS, LLC (“NYMLS”) delivered an update concerning NYMLS. She announced that the final version of the Rules and Regulations (the “Rules”) have been approved by the NYMLS Board of Managers. Ms. Caro indicated that the tentative launch date for the new MLS was changed from October 1, 2019 (the previous target date) to November 1, 2019. She reported that the name of the new MLS had cleared all legal and trademark hurdles and may be released by the end of September. She also reported that the interview process for the new Board of Managers would be commencing soon. She pointed out that the Nominating Committee for NYMLS would consist of seven members, three sitting managers and four additional members (2 from LIBOR and 2 from HGAR), who are required to be a Participant for at least three (3) years. She noted that the process to choose the “Outside Managers” (as defined in the Operating Agreement) has not yet commenced. Ms. Caro then went on to highlight some of the new Rules:

The Rules include the implementation of “Rules Enforcement Facilitators” who are individuals who will assist other Participants with the presentation of offers and the showing of properties.

There will be thirty (30) such “Facilitators” (applications to apply to be a Facilitator were provided to the Directors at the Meeting).

New Fees and Removal of Listing Fees (e.g., additional monthly fee of $165 per month to brokers to cover expenses of services being provided to Participants and Members, additional annual fee of $110 to agents, and removal of individual listing fees (an item which was billed to HGMLS members, but not MLSLI).

Expiration Dates will now be visible on the MLS.

Subscription Fees are being increased from $165 to $185 per month.

Commercial and Investment Division

John Barrett, in his capacity as Chair of the Commercial & Investment Division (“CID”), reported on CID’s recent events. He reported on the panel discussion event held on August 7 at the Hutchinson Metro Center in the Bronx, which was sponsored by HGAR’s Commercial Investment Division and BMAR. Over 125 commercial and residential real estate professionals attended. The panelists discussed the impact of the new rent control regulations, enacted by the State Legislature and signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo, on the region’s real estate market. He also noted that CID was sponsoring a Breakfast with Benefits event, “What’s New at White Plains Hospital,” to be held at the Cancer Center at White Plains Hospital on September 17.

WCR Empire Chapter

President of the Westchester Women’s Council of Realtors, Angie Primus Gilford, reported on the success of the event, “How to Keep Cool When the Deal Gets Hot,” held on June 18, at Mulino’s at Lake Isle. She reported that it was well attended and that there were over 72 attendees. Ms. Primus Gilford also reminded the Directors of an upcoming breakfast seminar, “Minority & Women-Owned Business Enterprise Certification,” to be held at Split Rock Golf Club in the Bronx on October 21.

Hudson Gateway Realtor Foundation

Director Maryann Tercasio presented a report on the HG Realtor Foundation. Ms. Tercasio noted that recently the HG Realtor Foundation made donations totaling $11,500 to six different charities and indicated that there remains approximately $29,500 to be donated to local charities and not-for-profit organizations. She also reminded the Directors about the upcoming HG Foundation Pub Night event being held at the Bull and Barrell on September 16.