PRESIDENT'S CORNER: NYSAR Fall Business Meeting Update

Barry Kramer | October 2018

The New York State Association of Realtors held its Fall Business Meetings earlier this month at Turning Stone Casino in Verona, NY. I was joined by nearly 30 representatives from HGAR, all who volunteered to spend a few days hearing updates and addressing issues that affect membership and the Association.

On the first day of the meetings NYSAR Legal Counsel Anthony Gatto presented a Legal Update. Among the important issues covered was the new mandate that all employers in New York State adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy. An employer that does not adopt the model policy provided by the state must ensure that the policy they adopt meets or exceeds minimum standards set by the state. The new regulations, which went into effect October 9th, require employers to conduct annual training aimed at preventing sexual harassment. They must also post their policies in highly visible places.

Other issues were discussed at the Legal Update included one item that involves the use of the @ symbol when describing a team. For example, the Smith Team at XYZ Realty was previously allowed but now, per the Department of State, the team could also use the Smith Team @ XYZ Realty. Gatto also reviewed the use of titles by Realtors. Generally, descriptions like Vice President are not permitted. We are allowed to abbreviate License to Lic. and Real Estate to R.E. on business cards.

The Legal Update was followed by an informative session called TechKnow2018, where the latest in technology was discussed for Realtors. This year’s NYSAR President CJ DelVecchio has embraced technology as one her themes, this was an appropriate and well-attended session.

At the NYSAR Fall Business Meetings event, I presided over the Co-op Working Group Committee meeting, my last as Committee Chair. I updated the working group on progress being made on co-op transparency in Westchester, and we had a report from Parkside Group on efforts in the state and New York City. We also had a report from efforts in Long Island. I thanked next year’s Chair, Liz English, and introduced our very own Irene Guanill, who will serve as Vice Chair.

The most significant changes discussed at the fall meetings were related to education. The first involved changing the core education requirements, part of the 22.5 hours required for CE credit on license renewal. Recommend by the Education Management Committee, the change would add 2.5 hours of ethical business practice to the 7.5-hour core requirements. This would add to the existing requirements including 1- hour legal update, 3 hours, fair housing, and 1-hour agency. Another significant change would be to remove all grandfather exemptions for licensees that currently do not need CE credit to renew their license. Removal of the exemption would come into effect on the first renewal after the legislation passes. While both of the proposed changes to education were approved by the Board of Directors, they are still subject to legislative review by the state.

The Fall meetings included a Karaoke night hosted by Long Island’s Matt Arnold. This fun event raised more than $50,000 for RPAC, a portion that will be credited to HGAR. After last year’s Karaoke night, I was not found anywhere near a microphone. In addition to RPAC, many attendees participated in a build for Habitat for Humanity.

The meetings also included a talk on Realtor Safety from Carl Carter Jr., the founder of the Beverly Carter Foundation. His emotional and moving presentation provided a powerful message on Realtor safety. I can’t stress enough the importance of being safe, and being cognizant of your surroundings and risks. Always let someone know when you are showing property, and when possible meet clients in advance at your office. For more on Realtor safety be sure to attend our session on Realtor safety at the Annual Meeting and Members’ Day on October 29th.

I attended several other committee meetings including Professional Standards and Legislation. Dorothy Botsoe, vice chair, presided over the Fair Housing and Cultural Diversity Committee, and I was pleased to update the committee members on co-op legislation in Westchester. Our regional Caucus on Wednesday provided an update for all participants.

NYSAR business meeting are held twice a year. They are always rewarding and informative. C.J. DelVecchio puts it best when she describes them as an opportunity to collaborate and further the association and our own professionalism. They provide a week of networking and learning from each other.

Barry Kramer
Barry Kramer is 2018 President of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, Inc