Change is in the air! A new year, a new decade, and of course changes at TALCB too. I start the year and this new position as TALCB’s commissioner with great expectations and excitement for the future. My predecessor, Doug Oldmixon’s presence will continue through March, which is very helpful to me and our agency through this leadership transition. I am grateful for the gradual transition and Doug’s willingness to impart his knowledge. Doug will leave behind a legacy of strong leadership and strategic vision. I am honored to follow in his footsteps.
I am brand new to TALCB, but have served as the Texas Real Estate Commission’s general counsel for most of 2019. So I have worked in and around TALCB but have plenty to learn. As I shift from the “new general counsel” to the “new commissioner” I hope to ride the wave, claiming newness for another round. I am swiftly hiring my replacement TREC general counsel so that I can focus on the leadership of the agency.
Our license holder community has exceeded the 200,000 mark across all license types (TALCB and TREC combined). With this growth comes an exceeding need to provide opportunities for self-service and increase process efficiencies. This has been a focus for the last several months that will continue in the foreseeable future. We have successfully reduced hold times in our call center and launched new online tools. In particular, TALCB has implemented phase II of the online application tracker that allows applicants to see which steps in the application process need to be completed before a license may be issued. TALCB has hired additional staff and authorized the use of contract review appraisers to implement legislative changes resulting from our agency’s sunset review and help reduce the backlog of new certified general appraiser license applications, and we are beginning to see progress on that front. Once all of our new staff members have been hired and trained, we expect to see even further reductions to application and complaint processing times in line with the sunset review recommendations. All of these efforts required increases to license application and renewal fees that took effect on January 2, 2020. To help offset the impact of these increases, TALCB eliminated other license holder fees, including the license history fee, the paper processing fee, the returned check fee, and the fee for certified copies among others.
In addition to all of these changes happening at TALCB, the Association of Appraiser Regulatory Officials (AARO) and the Appraisal Standards Board (ASB) are coming to San Antonio, Texas in April! The public meeting of the ASB will be held in San Antonio on the morning of April 3, 2020, and the Spring 2020 AARO Conference will be held in San Antonio on April 3-5, 2020. We invite all Texas appraisers to put on your boots and join us in San Antonio to learn more about what is happening in other states and at the national levels of appraiser regulation. You can find more details and register to attend these events on The Appraisal Foundation and AARO websites.
Our mission is to protect consumers while facilitating economic growth and opportunity across Texas. One way of fulfilling this mission is to equip you to do your job well and ease any burden you experience when needing to interact with our agency. We look forward to increasing the opportunities for license holders to upload documents to our website to ease in license renewals, completing the transition of our criminal background check process to an automated process that reduces renewal fees, and finding new and different ways to simplify and enrich your interactions with TALCB, but we won’t stop there. You have my word.