The goal of the Town Monitor Program is to increase member involvement in association government affairs programs, build relationships between members and local municipal leaders, and develop an early tracking system to identify and address issues of concern. The program positions REALTORS® to have a direct impact on local decisions affecting real estate and private property rights and places the REALTOR® Association in the forefront as a defender of private property rights.
What are Town Monitors?
Town Monitors are the key players that connect the Berkshire Board of REALTORS to the communities we serve. A Town Monitor is asked to alert the CEO on any issue related to real estate and private property rights affecting the community. The CEO and the Government Affairs Committee will take this information and learn about potential impact, strategist our reaction, share information and mobilize our members.
Town Monitors are not expected to develop talking points or present testimony at a municipal committee meeting, but may asked to do so by the Board, if willing. No member may take a position on any issue on behalf of all Realtors, the Board of REALTORS or the Real estate industry as a whole without Board approval.
|Zip||City / Town||Volunteer Town Monitor||Volunteer Town Monitor|
|01230||Great Barrington||Tom Doyle||Eric Steuernagle|
|01235||Hinsdale||Barbara Osborne||Sherry Street|
|01238||Lee||Mary Tyer Kelly||Katie Soules|
|01240||Lenox||Mary Jane White||Anne Meczywor|
|01245||Monterey||George Cain||Maureen McFarland|
|01247||North Adams||Al Marden|
|01201||Pittsfield||Steve Ray||Mary Jane Dunlop|
|01266||West Stockbridge||Mary Jane White||Gladys Montgomery|
Helpful Hints for Town Monitors
As the Berkshire Realtor watch-dog, there are several basic strategies for monitoring the issues and getting involved:
- Town Hall and City Hall– All public meetings must be posted in the municipality’s town hall or city hall by law. Most cities and towns will post committee meeting agendas and minutes on the local website. For information on past decisions or to stay apprised of committee meetings, regularly visit the municipality’s website. A database of all local websites can be found here: http://www.mma.org/city-and-town-web-sites.
- Local Paper and media outlets– Many meetings may be televised for public viewing or a recap covered in the Berkshire Eagle, iBerkshire or Berkshire Edge. Stay up to date on issues by reading the local paper, either online or hard copy, and monitoring the local access television
- Local Online forums via social media and blogs- With the advent of social media forums such as Facebook and Twitter, most departments in a town will have a social media page that you can follow for updates on department activities. In addition, community members will create pages to circulate information and updates. Be sure to join these pages to receive information first hand from those invested community-members and to get a sense of public interest in the topic. Individual blogs and Facebook are rife with this An easy way to share information is to message the CEO with a link to important information, or to share to the Berkshire Realtors private page. This page is monitored and we share posts that are relevant to the members. If a post is incomplete, we may not post it on Facebook, but will use the information in a Friday REcap.
- A note of caution on social media: please be mindful when commenting or engaging in discussions on social media. As a REALTOR® Monitor, your activity on social media reflects your local, state, and national Association of REALTORS®. Your Local Association reserves the right to remove any Monitor from his or her position for activity on social media that is deemed
- Google Alerts- A good way to monitor activity in towns and cities is to use the automated Google Alert feature. With this function, you will receive a notification when a specific phrase appears in the news. For example, an alert can be established for “Town Name + Zoning” and you will be notified any time an article containing that phrase appears in the search
- Get to know your Local Leaders. Understanding your local officials’ positions, policy goals, and objectives will help you gauge how best to address an issue when it
- Get to know municipal employees. Find out who is implementing the policies and get feedback from them to see if the proposed policy is the best solution to the problem. Often municipal employees have experience or knowledge of other solutions from other localities and can share them with the policy makers.
- Volunteer in your municipality. Volunteer for a committee in your city or town to be influential in the decision-making If you are a volunteer currently – becoming a town monitor is a snap! Your message as an advocate is strengthened when you have an active voice and it helps the association to know of the Realtors working in the field to call on for expertise!