HGAR Approves Merger With Manhattan Association of Realtors
John Jordan | October 20, 2016
Gary Leogrande Named Realtor of the Year
TARRYTOWN—The Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors made history on Oct. 17. The Realtor association conducted the 100th Annual Meeting in its storied history and the membership, in a unanimous vote, approved the proposed merger with the Manhattan Association of Realtors. (MANAR)
The merger, which becomes effective on Jan. 1, 2017, will create the Manhattan Chapter of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors. The association will continue to operate as the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors. Other highlights of the daylong event that was attended by more than 1,000 HGAR members and affiliates included the announcement that Gary Leogrande of Keller Williams NY Realty was named the organization’s 2016 Realtor of the Year. JoAnne Murray, owner and president of Allan Block Insurance Agency, was named HGAR’s 2016 Affiliate of the Year.
HGAR CEO Richard Haggerty explained that the genesis of the merger deal began earlier this year when chief officials of MANAR approached the organization about a possible merger. After discussions with MANAR and with HGAR’s Board of Directors, negotiations were initiated that led to the merger agreement that will create the Manhattan chapter. MANAR, which was formed in 2001, at one time had more than 600 members, and now has slightly over 100 members. Haggerty related that the major New York City-based real estate organization remains the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), which severed its ties with the National Association of Realtors in the early 1990s.
The merger agreement approved by the membership also calls for the eventual merger of the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service with the MANAR MLS. Those discussions are expected to take place in 2017. The membership also approved that MANAR President Tony D’Anzica would serve on the 2017 HGAR Board of Directors as the representative of the Manhattan Chapter. The agreement also calls for HGAR to support a future “Global Forum” event currently sponsored by MANAR and held in Manhattan. HGAR is also charged with utilizing “best efforts to foster other networking events to represent the interests of Realtor members located in Manhattan.” The MANAR Board of Directors is scheduled to vote on the merger with HGAR on Oct. 31.
Haggerty said that HGAR hopes to in time grow the membership of its Manhattan chapter. He said that while major cities across the country have NAR affiliated Realtor organizations and shared-listing Multiple Listing Services, Manhattan is the lone exception. REBNY operates a REBNY Listing Service (RLS) web-listing portal, but it currently functions as a “back-end” data base that is accessed by multiple vendors on behalf of REBNY members.
Haggerty said that association mergers have been becoming more frequent in recent times. He noted that HGAR was ahead of its time back in 2011 when it negotiated the merger of the then Westchester-Putnam Association of Realtors with the Rockland County Board of Realtors and the Orange County Association of Realtors. The merger deal that created HGAR went into effect in 2012.
The membership also elected the 2017 Board of Directors for HGAR and recognized the nominated 2017 HGMLS Board of Directors. The HGAR Board of Directors is scheduled to vote on the nominated officers for 2017, including 2017 HGAR President Dorothy Botsoe and President-Elect John Lease III.
Renee Zulo will serve her second term of office as president of HGMLS in 2017. Nancy Kennedy has been nominated as its 2017 Vice President.
The HGAR Directors voted into office at the Annual Meeting were: Class 1 Directors: Drew Kessler, John Kope; Class 2 Directors: Francie F. Malina; Class 3 Directors: Debra Budetti, Angie Primus Gilford, Eydie Lopez, Eileen Barrett, Rey Hollingsworth Falu, Crystal Hawkins Syska, John R. Olivero and Gail Fattizzi; Manhattan Chapter Representative: Tony L. D’Anzica.
2017 HGAR Officers
President: Dorothy Botsoe; President-Elect: John Lease III; Regional VP/Westchester/Putnam: Clayton Livingston; Regional VP/Westchester/Putnam: Barry Kramer; Regional VP/Orange: Kathleen Milich; Regional VP/Rockland: Jennifer Mallory; Secretary Treasurer: Pamela Jones; Immediate Past President: Marcene Hedayati; HGMLS President: Renee Zurlo.
2017 HGMLS Officers
President: Renee Zurlo; VP: Nancy Kennedy; Treasurer: Chirag P. Shah; Secretary: Louise R. Colona; Immediate Past President: Leah Caro and HGAR President: Dorothy Botsoe
The Annual Meeting component of the Members Day event also featured remarks by 2016 HGAR President Marcene Hedayati and HGMLS President Zurlo who each detailed some of the major initiatives undertaken during their respective administrations.
Hedayati noted that one of the chief goals of her administration was to improve communication between HGAR and its members through e-mail, social media or face-to-face events. She related that in 2016 HGAR’s new website was “taken to another level” by providing each member with their own personalized web “Member Portal” that accesses all HGAR’s service offerings.
“This concept is so forward-thinking that NAR is now following suit and designing a similar program,” she added. Other initiatives she shared included bringing HGAR’s monthly newspaper Real Estate In-Depth online and expanding the activities of the recently launched HG Realtor Foundation, which handed out more than $55,000 to 17 local charities in 2016.
HGMLS President Zurlo reported that the MLS had a busy year and recently released Market Stats Reports. A webinar was held on the new products and a recording of the webinar will be available shortly. Soon to be released products include GoHGMLS, which will allow Realtors to access the MLS’ Matrix system on their smartphones.
“We heard you. A lot of you complained that it was difficult to see (listings) on your smartphone, so this will make it easier,” she related. Another product to be released is Instanet, a complete Matrix-integrated transaction management program that will also include an electronic signature component.
Besides the Realtor of the Year and the Affiliate of the Year, HGAR Recognition Committee Chairperson Sharlene Forman handed out a number of annual awards. The award winners were:
The Albert P. Schatz Legislative Advocacy Award—Nancy and Paul Kennedy
Extra Mile Award—John Lease III
The Stephane Crispinelli Humanitarian Award—Bonnie Koff
Spirit Award—Roberta Bangs
President’s Award—HGAR staff
Staff Acknowledgements—Eileen Taus (30 years of service); Vicky Gonzalez (25 years of service) and Marie Tychyn (25 years of service)
The Members Day program featured 80 booth holders and sponsors and a host of educational seminars and presentations including: “Fair and Ethical Housing” presented by Leon Cameron, HGAR Director of Legal Services; “Leveraging the Google Environment” by Warren Dow, VP of industry engagement at Lone Wolf Real Estate Technologies; “The Memory Switch” by Matthew Goerke and an engaging keynote address on the benefits of meditation by Dan Harris, author and co-anchor of ABC News’ Nightline and the weekend edition of Good Morning America.
More pictures from Our 100th Annual Members Day and Annual Meeting can be found here.