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November 2015 CEO Report

CEO Report to Board

My report for November will begin with information on the 2016 NAR Legal Seminar held November 3rd at the NAR Convention. Topics discussed were;

  • Annual Antitrust Compliance Program
  • A video on maintaining the REALTOR brand for the next 100 years.
  • Texting members and the TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act)
  • Regulatory Roundup (ADA websites, Criminal History, Drones, and Overtime rules)
  • Real Estate Listings & Copyright
  • A Core Standards Update
  • Policy Update
  • Multi-Board Directors & Conflict of Interest Panel

  This seminar is a repeat of the meeting held in Chicago that DJ attends and is one of the best meetings that I attend each year to gain information on the legal operation of our association.

On Friday the 4th I attended the following meetings

  • Federal Issues Update
  • Association Executives Committee
  • MLS Association Executives Session
  • Expo Grand Opening

On Saturday November 5th

  • Multiple Listing Issues and Policies Committee/Multiple Listing Service Forum
  • Professional Standards Committee/Professional Standards Forum

In the afternoon I along with Sara, and Alex met with Rapattoni. We discussed some of their new features and also went over some of the issues we have encountered lately.

I attended the OAR joint reception with the Oregon State Association and the NAR RPAC major donor event.

On Sunday November 6th

  • Association Management Roundtables 
  • RCE Leadership Luncheon

The subject of the luncheon was Disaster Housing Relief – Is Your Association Prepared? A panel of REALTOR association leaders shared their first-hand experiences about how they handled emergencies such as flooding, wildfires, tornados, and earthquakes. We learned how the REALTORS Relief Foundation, which was founded 15 years ago and has distributed over $25 million dollars, is here to support REALTOR family housing needs and the place they call home.

The final meeting I attended was the Regional Caucus for Region 06, Meg Casper, RVP, Michigan & Ohio was in charge of this meeting. We were informed on the proposed actions to be decided by the delegate body and Board of Directors on Monday the 7th.

 At meetings of the NAR Board of Directors and Delegate Body today, REALTORS® took the following actions.

  • Commitment to Excellence Framework Passed

The Board approved the framework of the Commitment to Excellence (C2EX) program, an initiative to develop and enhance qualities that reflect the commitment of a REALTOR to ethics, advocacy, technology, data privacy, and customer service. As part of the voluntary program, which is contingent on the approval of funding by the Finance Committee and the Board of Directors, NAR will develop a self-assessment designed to measure a REALTOR’s proficiency in the C2EX competencies and position him or her for improvement. The program will be made available to members through a website and a mobile app known as C2eEX Central. NAR will cover the full cost of the Commitment to Excellence program and administer it.

  • Former NAR presidents to head CEO search

The Delegate Body approved a Constitutional change to permit the Leadership Team to appoint a committee to identify a new CEO for the organization and select the CEO without requesting approval from the Board. Work begins after the meeting to find a replacement for CEO Dale Stinton, who will retire at the end of 2017. President Tom Salomone reported to the Board of Directors and Delegate Body that Chris Polychron, NAR’s 2015 president, will chair the search committee, and Cathy Whatley, NAR’s 2003 president, will serve as vice-chair. The full search committee will be named in a matter of weeks.

  • Board structure changes

The Delegate Body approved minor changes to the composition of NAR’s Board of Directors, the first structural changes to that group since 2000. Over those 17 years, the industry and the association have seen significant advances, and national membership has grown by 58 percent. In that context, NAR’s Leadership Team asked REALTORS and association executives from across the country to take a comprehensive look at the composition of the Board of Directors. A presidential advisory group, appointed by President Tom Salomone, recommended a series of Constitutional changes. The most controversial of the amendments, which proposed to change the allocation formula for state and local association representatives to the board, were defeated by the Delegate Body. To learn more, read REALTOR Magazine’s coverage of the board structure changes.

  • Fair Housing

The Board voted to “support and/or initiate” legislative and regulatory efforts that would bar discriminating against people seeking to procure housing based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The Federal Fair Housing Act protects equal housing opportunity on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status and national origin, but not on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

  • Appraisals

The Board voted to urge FHA to void its requirement that an appraisal stays with the property for 120 days. The requirement to keep an appraisal with a property for four months can negatively affect property values in markets where prices are rising.

  • RPAC

The Board voted to encourage states and territories to submit their own annual RPAC fundraising goals for the following year. These figures will be used to establish a national RPAC fundraising goal. The Board also decided to simplify the RPAC award system, which will involve the elimination in 2017 of all state and local RPAC award categories with the exception of the Triple Crown and President's Club awards.

RPAC leaders reported that 367,938 NAR members, or 32 percent of the association, made donations this year, a 1 percent increase over last year. Also, 100 percent of members who sit on committees and other association boards and entities, participated in the PAC, a milestone for the association.

  • Cultural investment

The Board approved spending $1.2 million to maintain NAR’s sponsorship of the “Within These Walls” exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. The exhibit opened in 2001 and uses a historic house from Ipswich, Mass., to showcase construction methods in Colonial days and celebrate the importance of the home to the generations of families that lived in it.

  • Patent-infringement insurance

The Board approved a recommendation by the Legal Action Committee to purchase liability insurance for NAR itself, REALTOR®-owned MLSs, and state and local associations to protect against patent-infringement claims by “patent trolls,”  which profit by seeking fees for use of overly broad patents that they own.

  • Legal assistance

The Board approved spending roughly $221,000 to support legal activities undertaken by NAR, a local association and a state association, as follows:

$161,000 to settle the balance on outstanding legal costs for NAR’s successful challenge to the validity of a patent a so-called patent troll was using to demand fees from real estate companies using certain email listing alert systems. As a result of the challenge, the patent owner, Data Distribution Technologies Inc. granted a “covenant not to sue” applicable to the entire real estate industry.

$50,000 to the St. Louis Association of REALTORS to challenge to the validity of a county rental ordinance.

$10,000 to the South Carolina Association of REALTORS to help it defend an arbitration decision it made in a commission-dispute case.

  • Advocacy grants

The Board approved grants to several state and local associations to support advocacy activities. The Puerto Rico Association of REALTORS received $35,000 to help it win repeal of a law imposing a sales tax on real estate services, and the Texas Association of REALTORS received $169,000 to help it win lower property taxes for home owners.

Separately, the Leadership Team reported that REALTOR® associations in several high-cost areas in California had also received grants to fight rent-control proposals, among other things related to escalating housing costs.

  • Recognitions

NAR formally presented Distinguished Service Awards to REALTORS Pat G. Kaplan, GRI, AHWD, ePRO, of Portland, Ore., and Barbara B. Lach, ABR, CRB, CRS, GRI, PMN, of Columbus, Ohio. DSA award winners have shown exceptional service to the association at all levels for at least 25 years.

Andrea Bushnell, RCE, CAE, chief executive officer of the North Carolina Association of REALTORS, was formally recognized as winner of the 2016 William R. Magel Award of Excellence for Association Executives. The award is the highest honor NAR presents to AEs.

Maranda DeSanto, RCE, Duluth Area Association, Minnesota; and Ruth Hackney, RCE, Missoula County Association, Montana, were announced as the 2017 recipients of the AE Leaders of Tomorrow Young Professionals Award, which recognizes AE young professionals who have fostered greater involvement and increased professionalism among their AE YPN peers. DeSanto and Hackney will be recognized at the 2017 AE Institute in Denver.

Reports:

  • Top-level domain.

 Bob Goldberg, president and CEO of the REALTORS Information Network and a senior vice president for NAR, gave a report on NAR’s .REALTOR top-level domain, announcing that in December, the association will transition its main website, REALTOR.org, to a new web address, NAR.REALTOR.

  • Realtors Property Resource.

 Dale Ross, CEO of Realtors Property Resource, updated directors about RPR®'s Advanced Multi-List Platform™ (AMP™) and Project Upstream initiatives. Ross said both initiatives are on time and under budget. Ross said RPR® achieved a key milestone by presenting a live demonstration of AMP™ during the REALTORS Conference & Expo. He added that 94 percent of all residential listings in the United States are on the RPR system, and that 92 percent of MLSs use it.

Respectfully submitted,

David W. Freitag, RCE CEO  

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