The Annual Meeting and Convention are a few days every year when we elect Officers for the coming year, meet to address issues facing the title industry and gather informally to eat and drink, usually a bit more than is good for us.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented a logistical challenge to the 2020 Annual Meeting and an insurmountable obstacle to the social events that make our convention the envy of the other state land title associations.
As Executive Director, it was my responsibility to figure out how to elect Officers in a way permitted by our By-Laws and in conformity with State health mandates. With the guidance of our Parliamentarian, Bill Collins, and the support of Dan Celikoyar, Technology Director at Judicial Title, a plan was developed that enabled every voting member of each section to assign their vote to a proxy and for the voting to proceed according to the By-Laws.
The candidates and the section proxies assembled outdoors on the roof deck of an office building in Westchester county. The proceedings were transmitted via ZOOM and ALTA President Mary O’Donnell joined remotely to administer the oath of office.
For those of you who are not paying attention, new officers include President Jean Partridge, Treasurer Eric Swarthout, Title Insurance Section Chair Steve Vincini and Vice-chair Robin Schwartzman. Returning officers are Dawn Pereyo, who moves to the role of immediate past-President, James Thanasules who is the new President-elect, former President DeAnna Stancanelli takes the Agent Section Vice-Chair and returning Agent Section Chair Richard Giliotti.
The circumstances forced us to abandon certain long-standing traditions, such as the award for service to the past-President Dawn Pereyo, a deficiency that will be corrected when we meet again in person. On the plus side, the newly elected President Jean Partridge treated us to an inaugural address accompanied by music and singing.
With the 100th Anniversary of the Land Title Association just around the corner, we were not about to let a global pandemic stop us.