Owners Corporation Committees of Management
From experience there are large and small OC developments in Victoria that are run well by their committees of management and unfortunately there are also many developments that struggle with getting a consensus on issues. This can make attempts at creating a community for the benefit of all lot owners a challenge. That is the beauty of a democracy.
Diversity in a committee is good and from experience I can commend the efforts of many different Owners Corporation Executive Committee members, especially when they are trying to ‘right’ the ship and these individual committee members including chairpersons become an invaluable resource of information in their own right.
The changes to the OC Act in Victoria from December 2021 certainly have assisted a little in this area where no longer is there a requirement for a maximum number of up to 12 on a Committee, but now committees may have a maximum of 7 members unless they vote with a 50% majority to have 12. The directors of theOCguide sit on committees that often have no more than 3 to 5 committee members and from experience often this can be more productive in getting things achieved. Again from experience, often the less issues or challenges at an OC often translates to smaller committees.
A committee chairperson is part of a committee’s primary administrative board. The person acts as the presiding officer at board meetings and other board events. Because the functions of a board may vary based on the organization, a chairperson may have slightly different job descriptions that meet the needs of the organization. However, all good committee chairpersons have the same general responsibilities, all of which are intended to make the committee run well and accomplish its goal.
OC Committee chairpersons must open a committee meeting formally. They take note of attendance and control who gets to speak and for how long. At the end of the meeting, they close the meeting formally.
The most important duties of any committee chairperson are to ensure the management and smooth running of meetings. The chair sets the ground rules and uses diplomatic methods to maintain these guidelines throughout the meeting.
The chairperson ensures that minutes need to be officially sanctioned. At the start of meetings, the chairperson must have everyone agree to the accuracy of the previous meeting’s minutes.
A committee chairperson must have a knowledgeable overview of the meeting to ensure that the discussion does not stray off topic. At the end of discussions, they should summarize the agenda to ensure that all members are in agreement with important decisions. The committee chairperson should also assist the committee administrator who is keeping track of the minutes.
The committee chairperson encourages contributions and debate from all group members but intervenes whenever discussion becomes too lively or heated.
Finally, the committee chair keeps the meeting to the allotted time, making sure all agenda items have been discussed and, before the meeting closes, coordinates the date and time for the next committee meeting
Organisation and Management
Committee chairpersons establish and enforce policies and procedures that allow effective management of the committee. The committee thus organises the committee’s operations so that each committee member knows what they need to do and how to do it. The chairperson also may be responsible for providing resources to the committee members that allow them to follow those polices and procedures.
A good chairperson represents the committee they serve. This means that the chairperson may make public statements on behalf of the committee, answer communications the committee receives and travel to seminars or business meetings related to the committee goals.
Chairpersons have to keep meetings running smoothly. They thus have to work with committee members (especially the secretary) to establish a meeting agenda and time frame. During the meeting, the chairperson has to keep the committee members focused on this agenda.
As a member of the committee, a chairperson may vote on issues on the agenda. However, a chairperson is ethically obligated not to browbeat the committee with his own opinion prior to the vote. For this reason, most committee regulations indicate that a chairperson generally shouldn’t issue points of debate, although still controls the debate floor.
We are now in the Post Covid Pandemic phase and after much use of ZOOM and Microsoft Teams by ourselves at theOCguide, we recommend use of online meetings wherever practical. There’s plenty of tutorials out there to assist. If you ever needed and excuse not to have to have in internal, face to face, bug sharing meeting, we certainly had the best excuse for a while there. However, many people found then so convienent it has become an everyday option.