Perception is Not Reality
Last week NAR held their Mid-Year meetings in Washington, as they have for many, many , years. And during those meetings, forums were held, committees met, actions were recommended, the executive committee reviewed the committee recommendations, and then the Bord of Directors voted on the suggestions.
One of the items, a rewording of a 4 year old recommended MLS policy, was referred to a work group for further study, (by a very close vote as I understand it) and the RE.net was enraged. Tweets and posts were written decrying NAR’s actions.
Jay Thomson and Paula Henry, both of whom had flown to DC to speak in the MLS Policy and Issues Forum, were understandably upset,after seeing the alacrity with which NAR had addressed the concerns of the members by having staff reword the offending policy to (in my opinion) more accurately reflect the business purpose of the original rule.
The System Worked Properly
I have to lead here by saying that I would have preferred the Board of Directors to have passed the change, and made this entire thing a non-issue, but the governance of NAR worked perfectly.
- A board enforced a policy recommended by NAR – as it should have.
- Members who had issues with the policy spoke against it in the forum provided for the expression of member’s views
- The committee charged with reviewing the matter debated the issues, came to a conclusion, and voted on measures to address the issues
- The leadership of the committee (who did an outstanding job) made their report to the executive committee
- The executive committed reviewed the matter brought before them and sent it forward to the Board of Directors.
- The Board of Directors, debated the issue, and then , as required by parliamentary procedure, had to refrain from resolving the matter when a motion to refer the matter was made (motions to refer always taking precedence over a motion on the floor).
And because the matter has not yet been resolved, the existing rule stays in place until the matter goes through the same process once more.
What Happens Next?
Since the rule in questions has been in place for the past 4 years and the enforcement of the rule is left to the discretion of the local MLS, the issue may stay local to the market covered by MIBOR. Or it may not. Other MLS’ may choose to enforce the rule as MIBOR has, though the number of people who opposed the referral may indicate that there are a lot of people who view the wording issue as a minor error in wordsmithing that needs to, and will be addressed in San Diego when the governance of NAR meets again.
Through incredible effort on the part of staff and leadership, we almost turned the Queen Mary around on a dime. The issue was addressed with blazing speed for such a huge membership driven organization, and even though this outcome was not what I would have hoped for, I was and am incredibly proud of all of the people (staff, members and leadership) that worked on bringing this issue to the attention of the membership.
Hopefully in San Diego there will be more people at the Forum, state and local associations will have heard from their members, and their directors will be asked by their associations to vote to make the change that was suggested this time, or one with similar effect.
What Did We Learn?
If you were paying attention, you learned quite a few things;
- NAR is incredibly responsive to the concerns of their members.
- NAR staff is world class – each department touched by this issue, law and policy, technology, and communications all functioned to maximize the voice of the members
- NAR forums are a place where any member has a voice equal to any other
- NAR committees listen to what goes on in the forums
- NAR leadership considers all of the information placed before them
- And the majority rules in the final decision – but not until everyone is heard
It may be that last part that is really hard for each of us to get. That even though there are a large number of members who felt that they were defeated here, an even larger group of members prevailed. There really is no ‘them’ making decisions here, just a couple of different groups of ‘us”.
If we participate in the system, and make our voices and opinions heard, where they need to be heard, in the forums, the committees, and the BOD meeting, then our opinions will be the ones that prevail. And if not, maybe our opinions were not reflective of the opinions of the greater portion of our group. (Even if we were correct-or at least thought we were)