Report from the Boards of Directors July 2014

The Board of REALTORS® Board of Directors met this month to review and consider the business of the association.    The Board had many action items from our very active task forces and committees. We have created a report for each board for your review. President, Mark McIlquham and our board members reviewed materials submitted from any committees and made the following motions and recommendations.

Investment Committee

  • Committees and taskforces have hit the ground running for the Board this year.  The Investment Committee, chaired by Gary Ostrander, met on several occasions to discuss investment objectives and to interview local investment firms.  They provided a report to the Board, which then voted to assume a new low to moderate risk tolerance investment policy and to utilize the expertise of the Keator Group of Lenox to manage our investment funds. [Investment Policy PDF]

Finance and Audit Committee

  • Our Finance and Audit Committee, co-chaired by treasurers Mary Jane White and Stephen Schoenfield, also met to review “Request for Proposal” results from 4 local firms to provide a review/audit of our finances.  This was our natural time to hold a review, but recent changes mandated by NAR now require an audit or review be conducted on a yearly basis.  Based on a solid proposal, competitive rates, familiarity with our corporate structure and many years of excellent handling of our finances at tax time, the Finance Committee recommended to the Board that we engage the services of Lombardi, Clairmont and Keegan to perform our annual reviews.  The finance committee, having done research and having the recommendations from the 4 firms that bid on the proposal, decided unanimously to engage in a review of the books, and not a full audit.  The Board voted in favor of this recommendation and also approved the additional expenditure in Professional Fees for their services. RFP Accepted

Strategic Planning 2015-2018

  • It’s hard to believe that 3 years have already flown by since our Strategic Plan was created.  It’s now time to review and revise that plan.  The Board voted to hire Roger Turcotte as our facilitator and approved a budget for expenses related to the meetings.  In addition to the Strategic Plan meeting, look for information coming very soon about a fabulous membership meeting highlighting Negotiation Skills All REALTORS Should know that Roger will present.

DR Training taskforce

  • After our last DR meeting, held at the Board Office in March, we heard from many brokers that there is a need for DR training and agency training.  We have created a DR Training taskforce, which will be chaired by Kathy Hazelett.  They will meet before the end of the month to begin formulating a plan for this training.  The first in a series of programs will take place on September 3rd at the Country Club of Pittsfield.  DRs, please watch for an announcement and sign up information coming out soon.

ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative Program)

  • We have also scheduled an ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative Program) to be held on September 22 & 23rd based on requests received from DR’s, new agents and past presidents.  This is the best agency training program that combines practical, in-the-field information as well as techniques for working successfully with buyers, managing expectations, and building a strong and robust referral network of satisfied clients.  Check out the ABR program details

Nominating Committees: Time to Think About Getting Invovled

  • The Nominating Committees of both the MLS and the Board will meet at the beginning of September.  Both of these committees are in the process of being formed and will be chaired by Past Presidents, Jeff Rose and Barbara Osborne, respectively.  Please send us your suggestions for members that you’d like to see considered for these two Boards of Directors.

REACT (Real Estate Agent’s Charitable Taskforce)

  • Kudos were extended to the REACT (Real Estate Agent’s Charitable Taskforce) for raising over $5,600 for the Relay for Life to benefit the American Cancer Society.  When discussing the commitment of those involved, it was noted that we didn’t have a good percentage of participants from the REALTOR community.  A discussion was held about renewing our ‘Go Local” commitment and try to expend our energies on local, small charities that will most benefit our community directly.  Great ideas were suggested and national grants discussed.  We will be looking for more volunteers for some emerging local projects, so please let us know if you’re interested.  We are pleased that the Chili Cookoff will be held at the larger Berkshire Hills Country Club on October 17th to benefit Kids’ Place.

Governing Docs in Compliance

  • NAR issued a letter to the Board of REALTORS, confirming that all of Board bylaws, MLS bylaws, and MLS policies are in compliance with national mandates.  They indicated that MLS Rules Regs and Policy Changes were needed.  The MLS Board made those revisions, the Board of REALTORS ratified those changes and we submitted the revised R&R’s to NAR.  NAR has now issued compliance letters for all governing documents of our association.   [all governing documents]

Issues Mobilization / Issues Awareness

  • The Issues Mobilization Committee, chaired by Anne Meczywor, submitted a report of their first meeting.  The board discussed this report and voted to redirect the focus of this committee and to rename the committee to Issues Awareness Committee to align with the new focus.  Discussion about local issues participation and “mobilization” of members should come either under REACT or under a new committee.  The Issues Awareness committee is charged with (and already has) identified a host of community and regional matters that need to be tracked to educate the members.  Issues include:
    • proposed gas pipeline,
    • flood insurance issues,
    • EPA proposal for the Housatonic river,
    • broadband last mile,
    • rail service connecting the Berkshires to NYC,
    • transfer taxes and local ordinances,
    • sustainable Berkshire research and reports,
    • merging and redistricting of schools,
    • among other environmental and community wellness issues.

The Board asked the issues most urgently affecting a REALTORS business and requiring proper disclosure be drafted in a summary format with links to more information and shared in the Friday recap.

Happy summer, happy selling!  A shout out to our committee members, event attendees and members who have been expending so much time and energy on our efforts this year.  We thank you!