Robert G. Markoff
October 16, 2009
It is hard for me to believe that this is my last address as NARCA President. In reflecting upon my two year term of office, I wonder where the time has gone. There is so much more that I want to accomplish that I am reminded of the song “Just a Little More Time!” Then I remember the years I served on the board as a member, secretary and president-elect and I know it is time for me to pass the gavel.
When I first assumed office, our founding president Don Kramer gave me some sage advice, “don’t try to do everything, do one or two things and do them well.” Thank you, Don, I have tried to follow your advice and do a couple things to the best of my ability.
I am very proud of our association and what it has accomplished in the past several years. Of utmost significance, we have adopted a statement of Ethical Aspirations which announce to our members and the public, the ethical goals that we seek to achieve above and beyond the heightened obligations of our legal profession. Do you remember four years ago the outcry at one of our conferences of “No way, Never!” Just taking one of our aspirational statements, the desire never to garnish exempt funds, NARCA has shown outstanding leadership in working with courts and those who would regulate our practices to diminish the adverse effects of garnishing funds that are exempt.
In the past several years, through the help of our public affairs counsel Waggener Edstrom, NARCA has turned from an inwardly focused association to one that is taking its place among sister collection industry associations. We have not attempted to speak for everyone in the collection industry, but to advocate for our members and express our concerns. Our media outreach has found favorable mention in many highly respected national publications including the New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, Washington Post and USA Today. In addition, NARCA is regularly quoted in collection industry publications and invited to participate in many related conferences.
Our outreach has brought us to several conferences of regulators including the National Association of Attorneys General, Consumer Protection Division and the North American Collection Agency Regulatory Association. We have had meetings and developed contacts with AARP, Public Citizen, Better Business Bureau, NCLC and other consumer advocates as well as the Military Line publication.
NARCA’s legislative outreach
includes meeting members of Congress who serve on relevant committees. NARCA is
also working with our membership on state and local matters. We are supporting efforts in
For all that we are doing, I feel that we are a bit like Sisyphus pushing that rock up the hill. In our case, though, when it looks like we are about to reach the top of the hill, the hill gets higher. The issues that affect our legal collection industry are popping up so frequently that it is almost like playing the children’s game at Chuck E. Cheese called “Whack-A-Mole.” We wonder if we will ever fully get our hands around all of these fast-breaking issues.
Your NARCA leadership is
taking action to better address legislation in
NARCA has spent a great deal
of time and effort in working with the Federal Trade Commission not only on
Turning to our homefront, NARCA has said goodbye to its management company
of many years. Management Options, Inc, (MOI) had served NARCA very well, but we reached a
point where we knew that it was time to move on. NARCA has now established its own independent
As I leave office, among the many suggestions that I have shared with Fred and our board, I would like to bring one in particular to your attention. The NARCA president-elect works every bit as hard as the president. Therefore, the term of NARCA president is more like three years of voluntary servitude. In fact, the first year of a president’s term in which there is no president-elect to assist with the work is extremely difficult for a new president. In addition, the work load of our association’s president has become so great with both management issues and public outreach, that I recommend changes to the term of office. There are many excellent approaches available, but I want you to be aware that NARCA should address the situation. Many fine volunteers are not capable of assuming the NARCA presidency because the cost to their practices would almost be insurmountable.
It is now time for me to say some thank you’s. To our Executive Committee including Fred Blitt, Bill Hicks and Joann Needleman, who wound up doing more work for NARCA than they ever envisioned when they ran for office. To the NARCA board, where almost everything is done by consensus, you have been a dream to work with. May the collegiality we have shown each other continue to inure to the benefit of our association. To the many unsung NARCA members who have worked on committees, task forces and projects, thank you. You are the reason NARCA is a successful and vibrant association today.
As a very personal thank you, I want to thank my wife, Diane. Also, I owe an incredible debt of gratitude to my partner Jim Krasny, for allowing me to serve our association. Little did he know of the time commitment! Jim, thank you.
Everything that I have done as NARCA President has been based upon those able leaders who have preceded me. I have stood on their shoulders and now, Fred Blitt, I invite you to stand on mine.
Thank you, NARCA, for allowing me to be of service to you.