This topic contains 7 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by scotlandx 4 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #37472
    Avatar
    Cam
    Flatchatter

    A relatively recent resident is making our EC meetings practically unworkable. Not on the EC (chose not to nominate at last AGM) and therefore (as I understand it), not really allowed to speak unless invited, they constantly interrupt, interject, talk over and shout down everybody else, making rational discussion impossible.

    When our Strata Manager (who chairs the meetings) attempts to close them down, he is accused of bias, and of acting unprofessionally. Their behaviour verges on the unhinged.

    Meetings that should be orderly and take at a maximum 1 hour are taking 3 hours plus, and are frankly descending into a shambles. They have also performed other unwelcome acts – like banging on the doors of EC members and sending accusatory emails to their private email addresses.

    They have been sent a solicitor’s letter asking them to desist but they continue unabated with the emails. The EC was elected by popular vote at the last AGM and is firmly united, and has the support of the Strata Manager. What can be done?

    • This topic was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by Jimmy-T.
    #37479
    Jimmy-T
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    You could adopt a set of standing orders, like those reproduced here: https://www.flat-chat.com.au/topic/owner-and-proxy-attends-agm-in-person/

    And/or you might introduce a by-law governing behaviour at the meetings.  If the miscreant breached the by-law, they could then be sent a notice to comply and fined.

    In fact, you might make it that if a lot owner or resident has been “named” (as per the Standing orders) and continues to breach them, they will be liable for penalties to be awarded by NCAT for breaches of by-laws.

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by Jimmy-T.
    #37485
    Avatar
    Cam
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Thanks very much for your quick and helpful response which will be passed on to our Strata Manager.

    #37491
    Sir Humphrey
    Sir Humphrey
    Strataguru

    Perhaps, for a short time, the EC could meet informally in private to discuss matters on the agenda of each up-coming meeting. That way, EC members could have the civilised, unrushed, uninterrupted exchange and testing of ideas that is necessary for good decision making. Then, as is proper, the actual decisions could be made and minuted at the notified meeting in quite rapid succession without the risk that some useful contribution from an EC member would go unheard by the other EC members.

    There might be some spluttering indignation from your disruptive owner as you race through the agenda at the formal meeting but at least you would get the business of the EC done. It might take a while for the disruptive owner to cotton on and even then, what could they do? There is no reason why EC members can’t talk informally among themselves when not having an EC meeting. Then, at the actual meeting, they can find themselves surprisingly quickly in unanimity with the first thing said on a matter, quickly resolve to make that a decision and move to the next agenda item.

    #37494
    Avatar
    Cam
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    We already do this; meet informally, thoroughly discuss and reach our decision on each agenda item for the upcoming meeting.

    Unfortunately “Then, as is proper, the actual decisions could be made and minuted at the notified meeting in quite rapid succession” simply does not happen because the disruptive person wants to speak to every agenda item, (and everything else under the sun), despite the fact that the chair, after taking a vote from SC members, tells them that permission to speak has been denied.

    It seems to me (obviously this needs input from all other SC members) that from the Keymaster’s suggestion that we need to establish standing orders about behaviour, and then introduce a bylaw governing behaviour at meetings, would be very helpful.  “In fact, you might make it that if a lot owner or resident has been “named” (as per the Standing orders) and continues to breach them, they will be liable for penalties to be awarded by NCAT for breaches of by-laws”, is very attractive – this is a person for whom the concept of rational behaviour seems not to exist. I am sure this is a common-enough occurrence – where the actions of one person try to spoil the concept of strata living for everyone else.

    As this has previously been a fairly harmonious working committee (and strata complex), we needed suggestions of some strategies to adopt.

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by Jimmy-T.
    #37580
    Avatar
    Topsheila
    Flatchatter

    We have a pretty harmonious group of owners, so I can’t imagine such a scenario, but you could do what we do and just hold paper meetings.  We haven’t had a physical SC meeting for two years.  We all just meet for the AGM and the occasional EGM.  All of the SC members work full-time except me and, as Chairman, I can write up an agenda, sort out any queries relating to questions, have suggested remedies available and generally keep everything on track.  Everyone appreciates this, so things remain relatively peaceful.  I email the SC members the agenda and ask for responses and/or votes on the issues.  And no one else knows when we do this until I post the Minutes on the notice board. We also try and keep the committee at an odd number, eg 5 or 7 people, so there is never a tied motion.

    #37584
    Jimmy-T
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    The “paper” meeting is a long-standing tradition in NSW strata which is probably on firmer legal grounds now that phone, online and electronic voting is allowed.
    One issue that constantly comes up is the right of non-owners to attend the meeting – which they can’t do if there is no physical meeting. But being legalistic, if there is no physical meeting, then there is nothing for them to attend.
    The problem with a paper meeting is that it precludes often valuable ideas from other residents who aren’t in the inner circle.
    I would recommend, in the circumstances outlined above, that you hold a quarterly full strata committee meeting, but make sure all residents know what’s being discussed and what the outcomes of those discussions were (via an agenda and minutes) so that the troublemaker can’t claim impropriety.
    And in the meantime get a set of standing orders, backed up by a by-law, so you at least have the means to put this disruptive person back in their box.

    #37598
    scotlandx
    scotlandx
    Strataguru

    Topsheila if you are not giving notice of proposed decisions being made by written resolution, you are in breach of the Act. Schedule 2 requires that notice be given to all owners, whether the meeting is in person or in writing, refer subclause 9(2) and clause 5 of Schedule 2.

    Making a decision in writing is not a loophole. If notice is not given a decision may not be valid.

     

     

    #37622
    Avatar
    Cam
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Jimmy –  By “I would recommend, in the circumstances outlined above, that you hold a quarterly full strata committee meeting, but make sure all residents know what’s being discussed and what the outcomes of those discussions were (via an agenda and minutes) so that the troublemaker can’t claim impropriety.” do you mean  a paper meeting?

    The person has distributed via letter box drop their version of the last SC meeting (the one which they completely disrupted).  The kindest way to describe it would be misinterpretation of the facts, more accurately a bunch of lies. Unfortunately it arrived before the official minutes which have come today. The Strata Agent has suggested in future SC meetings be held in his office (which is quite some distance away); the person (if they bothered to come) would be there at his invitation, and if they were disruptive, he would be prepared to call the police. I think this would be a considerable inconvenience to SC members most of whom work; finding a time suitable to all would be a struggle. At the moment it is suggested we go ahead with the idea of putting in place at an EGM standing orders, backed up by a by-law. In the mean time, I have suggested we urgently seek a face to face meeting with the Strata Agent and his lawyers to see what legal steps can be taken. At this point this committee member  just feels like resigning.  This sort of nonsense in not why we volunteer to be a SC member.

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