Taking a Closer Look at the MAR Governance Structure

by MAR Staff | Dec 29, 2013
Late last year, MAR’s Board of Directors approved a new Strategic Plan designed to set the course of MAR’s future. As part of that future, it recognized governance as an issue in need of improvement and appointed a Task Force to study the issue and recommend solutions.

By: Peter Casey, MAR Structural Audit Task Force Chairman and 2003 MAR President

Late last year, MAR’s Board of Directors approved a new Strategic Plan designed to set the course of MAR’s future. As part of that future, it recognized governance as an issue in need of  improvement and appointed a Task Force to study the issue and recommend solutions.

Key Initiative M3.1 Structural Audit Task Force A taskforce will be appointed to conduct a governance review, examining the current policies and governance structure of MAR and recommending changes likely to provide superior member services with less expenditure of volunteer and staff time. The task force will look at internal decision making procedures at MAR with the intent of simplifying decision making and appropriately empowering staff. It is likely that the process will involve significant member outreach.

You may question why the Board thought this necessary and why now. Simply, it is because MAR’s current decision-making processes have become time consuming, expensive, and counterproductive. To better understand MAR’s decision process, staff prepared a chart illustrating how one hypothetical member service proposal travels from idea to approval. The chart was both enlightening and alarming.

As many as 15 separate steps are required from the initiating committee’s outline, to staff’s research and refining, to leadership team buy-in and decision, to move forward, then reviews by the Finance Committee, the Executive Committee, the Caucuses, and, finally, the Board. The process could take a year or more from idea to implementation.

So, what is the solution?

We must develop a new approach, keeping in mind who our members are and what services they need to make them more successful REALTORS®.

The Task Force has scrutinized the current state of governance, and are exploring varying models and resources on Association Governance. To that end, research is underway to identify other Associations who have substantially and successfully refashioned their governance and to collect information from and about our own members that will help us better understand them and what they need and expect from MAR.

In the coming months, we plan to hold a retreat and employ a facilitator with appropriate expertise in Association Governance to evaluate the information collected and consider our options. Only then will the Task Force begin searching for governance models designed to streamline MAR’s decision processes, reduce volunteer and staff time and effort, and produce faster and better results in keeping with our strategic objectives.

Along the way, we plan to keep you all fully informed online and through other means and invite you to ask whatever questions you have and send them to Audit@marealtor.com. MAR Directors, have a fiduciary duty to stay informed; members have a right to be kept up-to-date. We will do our best to ensure you are all part of this important undertaking. Our members deserve nothing less.

This may be a very good time to recall Robert Kennedy’s famous words: “There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”
 
Click here to view the Structural Audit Task Force webpage.