I’m contacting you today because I don’t want you to be misled by an email distributed on August 28 that looks as if it came from ABoR - it did not. This is an example of the kind of misinformation spreading since the August 2nd removal of Cord Shiflet and Brian Talley from your Board of Directors. Thus far, I and my fellow Board members have not responded specifically to the mischaracterizations of our actions nor the personal attacks online, but I cannot allow emails like the one sent on behalf of ABoR Members First to misrepresent our organization or misinform our members. You should expect accurate, candid information to be shared by your organization in a respectful, professional manner, which is why below you will only find facts about the decisions ABoR has made, not opinions about individuals or sensational allegations to fuel online vitriol.
Why were two ABoR Board Members removed?
The decision to remove these two individuals from your Board of Directors entailed extensive thought and deliberation and was not made lightly. Ultimately, however, it was made in the best interests of your Association and rest assured that your Board understood what was likely to occur in the wake of such an action. However, in keeping with the commitment that sometimes leadership entails doing the right thing, and not the easy thing, we did what we felt was best for ABoR. Unfortunately, the organization is prevented from sharing much detail about this matter, because both individuals have engaged legal counsel and made formal demands upon your Association, but I can say that the behavior we’ve seen since taking that action has only reinforced our conviction it was, in fact, in your organization’s best interest.
What decisions did the Board make on August 25th?
On Friday, the Board adopted the recommendations of a President’s Advisory Group (PAG) that has been working to clarify and broaden the path to leadership for all of our volunteers. One of those recommendations was that when a Board member is removed from the Board, either by the number of absences or a three-quarters vote of the Board, they are ineligible to return to the Board for one term (three years). The removed director is not, as ABoR Members First states, “never allowed on the board again.” In fact, the Board made the decision for this correction to be enacted next year on January 1, 2018, as they did not want to seem overly punitive to the two individuals who were recently removed from the Board. In other words, if the two newly removed directors decide to petition to return as a Director of the Association, the Board decided to allow you- the Members- to determine their fate through the existing open petition process.
We enacted two other recommendations from the PAG, which involved clarifying the methods by which those seeking to petition the membership for a seat on the Board of Directors could do so. Those decisions included confirming that “wet signatures” remain the requirement for petitions (meaning they must be collected in writing as original signatures), which is no change from how this has been handled since our association was created. In fact, when asked, many other large REALTOR® Associations also require “wet signatures” in their own nominating process. The ABoR bylaws allow for a “Board approved electronic platform” but do not require that an electronic platform be provided.
It also included that individuals seeking to petition must do so as individuals (not as a group on one common petition form). This will allow for each member to evaluate and make their decision based on the merit of the individual candidate.
In addition, we appointed two individuals to fill the board seats left vacant after the August 2nd decision, ensuring your organization has a full slate of leaders to work on your behalf.
Why did the Board make changes to the nominating process?
We took these actions because you deserve a clear, verifiable and fair process for how members are selected for your Board of Directors. Please remember that anyone who is a primary or secondary REALTOR® member of the Austin Board of REALTORS® for at least three consecutive years immediately prior to election, with ABoR committee or task force experience or have been the Chair or Vice Chair of a local council/society sanctioned by NAR is eligible to run as a Director. That process includes both the traditional Nominations Process as well as the process of petitioning the full membership. We welcome our members to learn more about this process and invite you to view the Nominations FAQs as well as our Bylaws for a full understanding.
This Board is committed to always acting in the best interest of your Association, even if that requires taking strong and, at times, difficult actions to further the interest of its members. We are always looking to improve the ways in which we communicate with our members, and I’d like to reiterate that the Board of Directors welcomes your input and we actively seek involvement from all corners of our industry and community. I would also remind those who have fueled online vitriol in response to this matter that we are also your colleagues volunteering our time on your behalf. While we may sometimes disagree with one other, we should always treat one another with respect and uphold a professional reputation for our industry.
In closing, I’d like to thank you for your membership and invite you to reach out to me directly to share your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org. Even better, join us in working to make our Association the best that it can be by signing up for a committee when the 2018 Committee Call goes out later this fall. Our organization relies on hardworking volunteers who sacrifice incredible amounts of time they could be spending with their families or on their own businesses, so if you’re already one of those we thank you and if you are not, we’d love to have you join us.
2017 ABoR President