Association disbanded, but for local realtors it’s still business as usual

Merri Ann Simonson

By Merri Ann Simonson

The realtors on San Juan and Lopez islands voted to dissolve the San Juan County Association of Realtors in 2015 and become realtor members at large of the state association.

The decision to dissolve was due, in large part, to new core standards established by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) that were adopted in May 2014. Those standards included additional accounting regulations, an increase in state reporting, new duties for staff and the board of directors, more travel and per diem along with increase state meeting participation.

For our association, we would have needed a full-time staff member. The board of directors concluded that the annual dues would most likely double in size to fund compliance with the new standards.

The purpose of the new core standards, as developed by NAR, is to increase the operational function of the management team of each association across the country; to become more uniform as to daily operation, to consolidate smaller associations into larger ones, to create a higher level of accounting methods and board function. NAR desired all of the associations to have full-time staff with increased continued education requirements.

As realtor members at large of the Washington State Association, the agents that work for Coldwell Banker San Juan Islands, Windermere Real Estate San Juan and Islands Group Sotheby’s International Realty are all still realtors. We are bound to comply with the realtor code of ethics as well as the rules and regulations of the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. There is no change in our business operations.

Our community will not notice any change as the three brokerage firms intend to continue funding the member’s historic contributions for local scholarships, Animal Protection Society, holiday families, and our food bank. The level of commitment from realtor members will continue on.

Members currently serve on various boards, work with non-profit organizations, and volunteer their time to the community.

The San Juan County Association was formed in 1968 and most members had served at least once, if not more, as a board member, officer or on various committees. Tim Gambrell served as the association’s executive for 23 years.

During the last holiday gathering most members felt sad that the association was dissolving; however, we all agreed that our association was too small to absorb the increase in expense.

Further, we understand numerous small associations across the country have decided to either merge with a larger association or dissolve as we did.

Logistically, it wasn’t practical for us to merge with another association.

— Editor’s note: A full-time San Juan Island resident since 1995, Merri Ann Simonson is managing broker and sales manager of Coldwell Banker San Juan Island.