This originally appeared in Domain in the SMH and Financial Review. To read comments, click HERE.
In strata more than anywhere else, it seems, there are certain kinds of people who, if given a little authority, will immediately award themselves executive powers to which they are not entitled.
Flat Chat newbie Alexandra lives in a small block of ten units where the chairman of 20 years standing sounds like something of a technophobe, not to mention a control freak.
“He is not on email and does not believe in remote controls for garage doors,” she wails. “When I moved in he advised me there was no remote access so we all had to use a key.”
This required driving on the wrong side of the entrance, within door-scraping distance of the lock. Then Alexandra discovered there had always been remote access available so she and five other owners bought remote devices.
“The chairman had this deactivated as he believes remote access is not secure. I have written advice from the garage door service company that remotes are safer than keys,” she writes. “What action should we take?”
The service company is right. Remote control devices are more secure because you can have key audits at which all the remotes are recoded and any stray devices that may have wandered off with former residents are rendered useless.
The same can’t be said of keys which can be copied with ever increasing numbers in circulation, some of which will inevitably end up in the wrong hands.
However, it sounds like Alexandra and the other remote control owners have a majority in the building so they should write collectively to the chairman asking politely that the remote access be restored, and set a deadline for doing so.
If he fails to act, this fuddy-duddy needs to be reminded that the chairman is ruled by the owners, not the other way round. A simple majority vote at an executive committee meeting could replace him as chair (although he would still be on the committee).
If the committee won’t do it, they could all be sacked mid-term, but only by a vote of 75 percent of owners at an extraordinary general meeting, which is hard to achieve.
However, this autocrat needs to be brought to heel so Alexandra’s best plan may be to organize a palace coup at the next AGM when only 51 percent of the vote will get the tumbrils rolling.
There’s more of this on the Flat Chat Forum.