MAA President's Message
2017 Year End Report
First let me say, it has been an incredible honor to serve as your 2017 MAA President. It has been a busy, challenging and rewarding year. I feel extremely fortunate to have served with such dedicated and accomplished individuals.
I would like to give you a little update on the Strategic Planning sessions begun this year by the Board of Directors. This is a new process for the MAA Board and I want to express my gratitude for the extra time and commitment from members of the Board and from Service Providers to set a solid course for the future of our Association.
The Board met in January and June of 2017 for extended planning sessions and by the time you receive this communication we will have met again in November to plan for the 2018 year.
During the day and a half meeting in January we focused on our responsibilities to the Association and assessed our performance as it relates to our responsibilities. We then identified our priorities based on that evaluation and began to set goals and objectives and identified specific actions necessary to accomplish them.
Over the next five months we were able to assign tasks, do further analysis and act on those prioritized goals. We met again for another one-half day session in June where we reviewed the goals achieved, and discussed the objectives that still needed to be addressed.
As a result of these meetings, we identified the following four main priorities:
Our first and foremost priority is to provide quality educational options to our members. There has been great effort on the part of our Education Committee, Education Service Providers, Instructors and an army of volunteers to provide a quality educational product for our membership. However, we are keenly aware that there is much room for improvement and a need to re-focus our efforts to navigate the ever-changing environment of our profession’s educational requirements to succeed.
Therefore, we have initiated the following actions for education:
First, we will refocus our primary educational efforts on a continuing education curriculum. Due to State Tax Commission policy, MAAO certification courses can no longer be utilized for continuing education requirements. Therefore, three quarters of our course offerings at the spring and summer education sessions this year could not be taken by three quarters of our membership. This obviously did not meet the educational needs of our membership and resulted in a significant attrition in attendance. To address this shortfall, we reorganized our fall session which resulted in a better mix of course offerings and greatly improved attendance.
The next decision was to reorganize the Education Committee going forward for 2018. Patterned after our Membership Services Committee model the following changes will be implemented for 2018:
An unpaid Education Chair will be appointed, preferably a Board Member, to provide coordination, feedback and direction to our Service Providers, assist with any conflicts or issues and report back to the Executive Board.
- The current Education Service Provider contract has been divided into two separate professional service contracts.
- An Education Administrator position whose primary function will be to organize and manage our schools.
- A Curriculum and Instructor Development Coordinator position whose primary function will be curriculum development, instructor recruitment and training, and staffing of our schools.
Because our educational focus during the past few years has not been on continuing education, we have a great need for new and fresh continuing education courses. Recognizing that these courses require a large amount of time and effort, we have developed and approved a compensation model and submission process for curriculum development. We will be seeking development proposals as courses are identified. We will also continue to utilize the continuing education courses being developed by the State Tax Commission.
We appreciate and thank the State Tax Commission for their development of professional certification courses which are so necessary for our profession. We will continue to offer them in consultation and cooperation with the STC and in relation to the needs of our membership. However, to best serve the educational needs of the majority of our members, the mixture of classes will be more concentrated on addressing the continuing education needs of the membership.
Liaison with the State Tax Commission.
Regarding the second area of responsibility, we have designated a liaison/advocate to the State Tax Commission. For the remainder of the 2017 year, Past President Matt Schmidt will serve in this capacity. To that end, Matt has been very effective in representing MAA members’ and assessors’ interests to the Commission.
Liaison regarding Legislative matters.
The Board feels that our legislative efforts have been effective over the past few years. The Board approved sponsorship of an amicus brief to the Michigan Supreme Court in support of the Michigan Court of Appeals decision on Menards v City of Escanaba. Even though it represented a significant investment, we felt it was an important enough issue for all assessors and jurisdictions, to take a stand.
We are also exploring opportunities to more actively promote the profession.
Lastly, we initiated a twice monthly “staff meeting” with our Service Providers to facilitate better communication and coordination between them and the Executive Board so that we are all on the same page. Regarding better communication with membership, one important goal is to publish the full year educational schedule in early 2018 to help members in planning and budgeting their educational choices for the year.
These are some of the areas that we have addressed this year in charting the future path forward for MAA. We believe that these Strategic Planning sessions have given all Executive Board members an equal voice in the planning process and, if continued, will make for a smooth transition from year to year as leadership changes in the future. As always, we welcome your feedback and thoughts on the issues being addressed or any other concerns you have.
I feel very confident in the direction of this Board moving into the future and it has been a rare privilege to serve with them.
I wish you and yours a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy 2018!
Ruth Scott, President