The Oklahoma Real Estate Commission has appointed Charla Slabotsky, a lobbyist for the Oklahoma Association of Realtors, as its executive director, effective Feb. 11.
Slabotsky will take over from Anne M. Woody, who will retire March 1. Woody has been with the state agency for 38 years, starting in her teens as a receptionist, and is just the fourth executive director since it was formed in 1950.
Slabotsky, who grew up in Atoka, has worked for the Realtors trade association for 16 years. She is the senior vice president of government affairs. She has worked in communication, professional development and legislative and political issues, lobbying the Legislature on issues of interest to the real estate business.
Commission Chairman Pete Galbraith, of Sapulpa, called the change “bittersweet.”
Woody “has served the commission extremely well. She left it better than she found it,” said Galbraith, president of Tulsa-based Coldwell Banker Select, which has 17 offices and more than 600 real estate sales associates across the state.
Woody said the most meaningful times she's had are “when somebody is at a closing or is getting ready to close a deal and they call us (with questions) and we kind of walk them through it — to hear them express appreciation, to hear them say, ‘You're a state agency. Wow.' How often do you call a state agency and even get a person?”
Galbraith said Slabotsky's “new and exciting ideas” will serve the commission and the business well “as real estate changes.”
Galbraith said the agency received 35 applications. He said he knew the commission “is going to get shot at” for appointing someone with such close ties to the industry the agency regulates. But the commission was hard put to do otherwise, he said.
“All the applicants were very close to the industry. They were all insiders one way or another,” he said.
However, Slabotsky's work for the Realtors has kept her equally close to the commission over the years. As for the state code the agency administers and the rules and regulations it promulgates, she “helped write a lot of it and helped construct a lot of it,” Galbraith said.
Slabotsky will not have to learn the ropes or the staff or commissioners of the agency.
“The same people are in both places, just in different roles,” she said. “I'm very excited about working with the commission and looking forward to growing the industry and continuing to help consumers.”
The move leaves the Oklahoma Association of Realtors looking for someone new to send to the Capitol with the Legislature coming into session in less than a week, on Monday.
“The staff and members of the Oklahoma Association of Realtors are understandably sad to learn of Charla Slabotsky's departure after 16 years with us. However, this move provides a wonderful opportunity to work even more closely with the state licensing authority,” CEO Lisa Noon said.
For example, Noon said, the Realtors group has let the agency know it wants the continuing education requirements for real estate license holders scrutinized “so that we're providing classes that provide real value and real business knowledge to our members.”
“Charla's work with Realtors will give her great insight into this and much more in her new position,” Noon said.
Slabotsky earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism/public relations from the University of Oklahoma in 1994 and a Master of Business Administration degree from OU in 2002. She and her husband, Jay, live in Oklahoma City with their daughter, Cate, and son, Adam.