Due to the large volume of business, we needed to conduct to both meet our obligations to advance the normal work of the Board, and consider all of the matters highlighted in the agency’s Sunset Report, the Board met for two days in February. The first day was an extended workshop with in-depth discussions of policy and process matters and the second was equally detailed but included votes directing action on a variety of issues the members determined needed specific attention and guidance from the Board.
Each year in February, we elect two officers to serve with the Chair on our Executive Committee. For 2019, Martha Gayle Reid Lynch was elected as our Vice-Chair and Chance Bolton was elected as our 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 Board members will serve in each capacity. In addition, we appointed ten applicants to serve as qualified mentors in our remedial education program. More than usual, there is plenty of work to go around for all of us as we closely scrutinize options for each policy we develop.
The highlights of this extended meeting included the introduction of two new division directors for RCS and ITS and the announcement of two more director positions to be filled by internal promotions to be effective on March 1st. We also heard reports from all of our committees on their important work in December and January. In addition, we received reports and recommendations from our Commissioner, the senior staff and all of the division directors. We approved some updated and focused performance measures and reporting structures for both regular staff reports and for the agency’s monthly, quarterly and annual reports. As a result of these new processes, the Board members 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 Real Estate Commission. Notably, we directed distinct handling of Board calls, and eliminated the Long-Term Facilities Master Plan Reserve, creating a new Customer Service Projects Reserve. This means the agency will no longer continue to work with the Texas Facilities Commission to consider the possible development of a joint new office 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. Reserved funds now become available for other short and long-term uses.
Two important proposals were approved at this meeting – first, to hire three additional staff members to accelerate the investigation and disposition of complaints and license upgrade audits, and secondly, to outsource all reviews of commercial appraisal reports, whether based on a license upgrade request or a complaint. Peer Investigative Committee members already assist with the review of certain complaint files and this is an extension of the same rationale that supports that concept. Additional proposals to enhance customer service and long-term stability of funding 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.
We invite you to stay involved and ensure this agency continues to meet the needs of Texans as our market grows in both size and strength. And we wish you the very best in your professional practice.