Professional Standards
2019 Year-end Summary
Dear GRAR Members,

As we close out 2019 and start a new year, we wanted to share with you a summary of activity in the Professional Standards department. There were a number of changes in 2019, including the introduction of the Citation Policy and launch of the online complaint submission process.

We continue to see a great deal of activity, especially calls from consumers (more than 200 in 2019). Most of the consumer calls do not result in official complaints. However, our staff spends many hours working through issues with the public and answering questions. Of the 28 complaints received, you can see from the chart below that 12 resulted in a sanction, fine, and/or citation issued to the respondent. Five cases are still pending at this time.

It is important to know that members who violate the Code of Ethics are being held accountable.
Soon we will be in the busy spring season. If, through the course of your business dealings, you experience unethical behavior, we would encourage you to contact GRAR to understand your options. As an industry, it is critically important that we all work together in a professional and ethical manner to serve the consumer. If you have any questions or concerns, we are always here to help. 
Jim Yockel, GRAR CEO
There were five ethics hearings in 2019.
Case 1 : $500 Fine
Case 2 : $500 Fine
Case 3 : $3,000 Fine
Case 4 : $7,500 Fine
Case 5 : Still in process
GRAR Citation Policy
Launched April 2019
As part of our ongoing effort to promote professionalism in our industry, and to hold GRAR members to a high standard of professional conduct, the GRAR Board of Directors established a Citation Policy based on NAR’s recommendation and model policy. In short, the Citation Policy is a way for minor complaints arising from potentially unethical behavior to be handled much more quickly than through the formal grievance process. There are times when minor mistakes are made and it is appropriate for the respondent to say "Sorry, it won’t happen again", pay a small fine, and move on.

Some compare the Citation Policy to a traffic ticket. If you are caught rolling through a stop sign and issued a ticket, you know you did it. You are probably going to admit you did it, pay the fine, and not do it again. It is a relatively minor violation that doesn’t require a court appearance or a trial. The goal of the ticket is to remind you of the law so that you no longer roll through stop signs.

In recent years we've heard from you that the grievance process is too long and cumbersome. In many cases, a member may have an experience that warrants a Professional Standards complaint, but they elect to not file it. The Citation Policy may help with many of these types of situations.

Here is how it works.
If you believe you are the victim of a violation of the Code of Ethics you can fill out a complaint as you normally would. If the Grievance Committee feels it meets the criteria for the Citation Policy they will pass it to the Citation Panel. The panel will review and determine whether to issue a citation to the respondent. The respondent can admit the violation and pay the fine or request a full hearing. If they pay the fine, the matter is closed, the record is sealed, and it will only impact the member if they have the same violation in the future. Past citations are not considered as evidence in other matters.

You can review the list of citable offenses associated with this policy and avoid violations of the Code of Ethics. If you are the victim of a violation, we encourage you to file a complaint so that we can educate our members on proper ethical behavior and hold them accountable when they stray from ethical behavior.
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