The Board met for its regular quarterly business meeting on Friday, May 17th and we had an extensive and important agenda. We heard progress reports from all of our committees, each of which had met since our last regular meeting in February, some more than once. Enforcement, Budget, Education and Executive all had very productive working sessions. The agency is making steady progress on several key issues and we are so grateful for the members who offer extra time and effort to advance our mission.
The agency staff team also provided an updated series of reports in a new format as we had requested, and they did a great job to ensure a smooth transition. The meeting, though long, ran smoothly and much was accomplished. We approved an updated Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) primarily to support the segregation of Board calls and emails from those of the Commission and to pay our fair share for this new practice. We also updated our Budget and Investment policies to reflect the decision to reallocate certain reserve funds to address our changing priorities. We adopted rules that reflect our processes for prioritizing complaints we receive, and we approved the forms for the implementation of the Appraiser Continuing Education (ACE) program.
I pleased to let you know that the Governor has signed the agency’s sunset bill into law as of May 31st and it will become effective on September 1, 2019. Anticipating its final passage, at our May meeting the Board discussed several matters that will implement key portions of the bill. These include the requirement to maintain an initial level of confidentiality regarding the identity of a complainant, the continued outsourcing to qualified contractor professionals for reviews of reports by Certified General applicants or respondents, and future potential fee adjustments to support the three additional staff hired this Spring to adopt a target timeframe for complaint resolutions of six months versus one year. Significantly, any residency requirement prior to licensure will also be repealed as of September 1st, and this will be replaced by a strengthened reliance on the requirement for geographic competence.
The Board heard reports and held discussions on the AARO Spring Conference and Regulator Training event, the Appraisal Standards Board (ASB) adoption of the 2020-21 USPAP update, and the Appraiser Qualification Board (AQB) request for comments on the Practical Applications of Real Estate Appraisal (PAREA) concept of awarding experience hours. The Board delegated the analysis and provision of any comments on this topic to the Education Committee. We also had a discussion about future training topics for our annual workshop in November to allow sufficient lead time for the development of materials.
Because it is May, we also spent significant time discussing the first draft of our proposed budget for the next fiscal year. While we are making great strides in reducing the call and email response times, the Board wants to ensure no reasonable expense is overlooked that can make us more effective in our quest for excellent customer service across all functions of the agency. To that end, we directed the Commissioner to ensure even more collaboration than usual among all of the division directors to ensure no good idea for improvement is overlooked. The Budget Committee was charged to review all of the ideas and recommend resources to accomplish as many as possible. We look forward to their next report. We always welcome the input of our license holders on any matters of concern. We are listening!