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Due to the amount of business we needed to conduct to both meet our obligations to advance the normal work of the Commission, and consider all of the matters highlighted in the agency’s Sunset Report, the Commission met for two days in February.  The Texas REALTORS Winter Meeting overlapped our dates, so we had several extra stakeholders in attendance – and they earned CE credit for attending! 

Each year in February, we elect two officers to serve with the Chair on our Executive Committee. For 2019, Commissioner Bob Leonard was elected as the Vice-Chair and Commissioner Adrian Arriaga was elected as Secretary.  February is also the time we appoint members to serve on our various committees and as designated liaison to several of our ancillary and advisory committees.  Watch the video record of our meeting if you want to see which Commissioners will serve in each capacity. More than usual, there is plenty of work to go around for all of us as we closely scrutinize options for each policy developed.

The highlights of this extended meeting include the introduction of two new division directors for RCS and ITS, the announcement of two more director positions to be filled by internal promotions effective on March 1st, and the announcement of the retirement in May of our General Counsel Kerri Lewis.  We also heard reports from all of our committees on their extensive work in December and January.  In addition, we received reports and recommendations from our Executive Director, the senior staff and all of the division directors.  We approved updated and focused performance measures and reporting structures for both routine staff reports and for the agency’s monthly, quarterly and annual reports. As a result of these new processes, the Commissioners will receive additional detailed communications at regular intervals which will enable us to be even more fully informed and provide additional guidance.   

We had extensive detailed discussions about matters raised in the Sunset Report and further updated some details of our Budget Development policy, Investment and Reserves policy, and the MOU we have with the Appraiser Board. Notably, we eliminated the Long-Term Facilities Master Plan Reserve and created a new Strategic Projects Reserve. This means the agency will no longer continue to work with the Texas Facilities Commission to consider the possible development of a separate new facility in the Capitol Complex. Although initially justified by its economics, growing complexities associated with a potential project have made the proposal less compelling at this time.  Reserve funds will then become available for potential restructuring of our current offices to enhance efficient operations, accommodate additional staff, to accelerate upgrade of additional technology to enhance direct customer service tools and processes, and approval of other key proposals that will be developed over the next two years.

And of course we are in the midst of the Texas Legislative session. The bill to continue the agency with some important changes based on the Sunset Report has been filed in both the Senate and House. Our Executive Committee and key staff are working closely with the sponsors to ensure the bill accomplishes the many goals set out in the Sunset Report and also improves related functions of the agency. We appreciate the participation of our stakeholders and their professional associations as this bill makes its way through the process toward final adoption. Stay tuned for important updates over the next two months. We expect good things will result from this cooperative effort to sharpen our public policy.

Spring has arrived a bit early this year, along with the amazing profusion of color that Texas wildflowers provide.  We wish all of you the very best as the Texas market continues to grow in size and strength!