In August the Commission met for its regular quarterly meeting, and the agenda was far from typical! We said a special thanks to Mr. Brad Philips who has served for twelve years on the Inspector Advisory Committee, with two terms as its Chair. The majority of the lengthy meeting was filled with fiscal year-end updates on a variety of matters that are a result of the 2019 legislative session, and much of which needed to be accomplished before September 1st or by January 1st.
We heard regular status update reports from the Executive Director and the major Division Directors, highlighted by an exceptional report of recent call hold times in June of under 3 minutes. The call wait times have continued to reduce in duration through July and August. We are grateful to the staff who are working hard to ensure we make progress on all our customer service initiatives. We then also heard Committee reports from all of our Commission workgroups and Advisory Committees who have been working steadily to meet these deadlines.
Some highlights from the rules adopted at the August meeting include the elimination of the consideration of student loan defaults for license applications, repeal of branch office licenses and course instructor approvals, making education providers responsible for selecting qualified instructors using the Commission’s existing criteria. The impacts of this change will be discussed at length for both education providers and license holders this month in an upcoming special article and Facebook Live session. The Commission, as a result of Sunset review, also proposed several other rule changes.
Because of the continued influx of new license holders into this profession, the Commission has more revenue than it requires to accomplish its mission. So at this meeting, we also proposed the elimination of several fees - including for sponsorships, miscellaneous record changes, a certificate of active license history, and the submission of paper applications. This is in addition to the elimination of the fees associated with instructor approvals and branch offices. As always, the Commission publishes all of its recently proposed and adopted rules on our website. Be sure to refer to this page as a great resource.
Also at the August meeting, our long-serving Executive Director announced his intent to retire from the agency at the end of March 2020. In the ten years since he began, the agency has undergone immense change, including a complete transformation in technology and communications, an office move to the Capitol Complex, and – of key importance - gaining SDSI status. As he acknowledged, all of this was only possible because of the cooperative working relationship the agency has shared with the professional associations of our license holders. The Commission has begun the process of searching for a successor. The search committee includes the Commission’s executive committee as well as the Chair of the Board, Jamie Wickliffe. The position announcement has been posted on our website as well as several key HR websites. We are planning to hire a successor in plenty of time for a reasonable overlap and transition.
Coming up, Commissioners and staff will be traveling to Fort Worth to attend the 2019 Texas Realtors Conference this month. We will be speaking at the professional development forum, and the property management forum as well as hosting a booth at the trade expo. In November, the Commission will host a strategic planning workshop day where we will be discussing future plans for the direction of the agency. This will be in conjunction with our regular business meeting that month. I look forward to being a part of a very worthwhile and educational strategic planning process with the Commission.
Know that your input at the Commission meetings and when we are out on the road speaking to groups is essential for the agency to proceed on a positive path. I encourage you all to attend a Commission meeting in person or come to one of our upcoming speaking engagements. We want to hear from our license holders about what is important to you and your clients, the people of Texas.