An owners corporation’s only official record of its decisions of actions. Therefore, it is imperative that these records are properly taken. These points will help.
The following issues may be appropriate for “closed” meetings:
Items for discussion should be listed on the agenda of the EC meeting, by doing so,attendees are less likely to be offended when asked to leave a meeting.Even though the meeting may be closed, the results should be recorded in the minutes. If appropriate, communicate the results of a closed meeting, but remember: the information discussed is confidential.
Though closed meetings are sometimes necessary, EC committees must be careful not to abuse the privilege.Closed meetings should not be used simply because the EC wants to discuss an unpopular subject or avoid confrontation.EC members may think closed meetings are appropriate but proprietors of the scheme may see them as secret meetings. Avoid that perception by limiting the number of closed meetings, announcing the sessions in advance and explaining the reasons for the sessions.
The strata legislation will tell you when and how to call a meeting and provide rules aboutvoting, but in the main, the manner in which a meeting is conducted is left to the community.A basic understanding ofparliamentary procedure can help with the orderly flow of ameeting.
The basic rules of parliamentary procedure that everyowner’scorporation can follow include:
If your meetings are lasting forhours,it could be that your members are not properlyprepared. A good meeting pack sent out before the meeting will help.
Here are five tips:
Strata communities are renowned for meetings that seem to lack purpose or drag on too long.This is one of the reasons why it is hard to get people involved. A well-run strata community should pride itself on purposeful meetings that run for no more than two hours.
The basic ingredients for this are:
A well thought through agenda will pace the group by suggesting time frames for certain business.For example:First fifteen minutes–agree additional agenda items (if any), confirm previous minutes and identify outstanding matters from previous meetings.Second fifteen minutes–an update from the strata manager on tasks completed and the progress of tasks outstanding.One-hour discussion–the main matters requiring decisions at meetings.Last half hour-reviewing accounts, budgets and outstanding levies.If a Committee has only four meetings a year, then for the one-hour substantive discussion you might plan to deal with some predictable issues.
First meeting after the AGM-spend one hour to induct new committee members and adopt the draft strategic plan for the Committee (see part 2 in this series).Second meeting–spend one hour to review compliance issues.Third meeting–spend one hour on repairs and maintenance to ensure preservation of value.Fourth meeting–agree the budget for the forthcoming AGM.
The most important thing that a Strata Manager/Body Corporate Manager or Chair person can do to ensure a purposeful meeting apart from preparing a meaningful agenda, is to ensure that the meeting starts on time and finishes two hours later. Everything expands to the available time so by publicising the time for the meeting to end, you will ensure a more purposeful meeting.
Meeting Minutes an owner’s corporation’s only official record of its decisions of actions. Therefore, it is imperative that these records are properly taken. These points will help. Meeting minutes reflect what the organization decides, not what its members say.
A request by somebody to note in the minutes their particular objection to a matter ought to be refused as this tends to “high jack” the minute.
Minutes should show each motion as voted upon and how it was dealt with i.e.passed, defeated, tabled, returned to committee or ruled out of order.
Minutes should include points of order, appeals–whether sustained or not–and the chair’s reason for the ruling.
Boards should destroy meeting tapes and notes when the minutes are adopted.A motion passed is properly described as a “resolution”.All resolutions should begin with the word “resolved”.
The chairperson has the responsibility to not let rambling discussions impeded progress.Thirty-minute monologues, gossip sessions and searching for someone to blame for a problem, all waste valuable committee meeting time.Here are some suggestions from experienced managers and chairpersons about how to keep business flowing:
Eliminating distractions is essential for running a good meeting, that’s why having a committee meeting at someone’s home is not a good idea if it can be avoided. A committee meeting at someone’s home will invite more distractions, from pets to the television.A more formal setting is best. If the community does not have a meeting room, then an available room at the strata manager’s office could be used.
If that does not suit, many public libraries have meeting rooms available for reasonable fees.Some meeting experts believe a business-like setting does not include food. Food can bed is ruptive. Munching on corn chips is not generally thought to be conducive to good listening.Refreshments might be served either at the beginning or end of the meeting but not during the meeting. Certainly, alcohol during the meeting should be avoided.
Controversial decisions may be challenged if drink is involved.As to the best time for a meeting, opinions are divided. Managers would prefer all meetings to be held during working hours and owners would like them to be held after hours or on Saturday.
There is no right or wrong answer to this.Most experts agree however, that meetings should not last more than two hours, at this point it becomes more productive to continue at another time. When people are tired or frustrated,rash decisions might be taken. These last minute decisions can often result in disputes and even longer meetings in the future as the parties attempt to recover from their haste
The Executive Committee’s guide to better owners corporation meetings every owner’s corporation needs accurate, permanent minutes. One way to accomplish this is by videotaping meetings. But is taping a meeting a good idea?
What are the pros?
What are the Cons?
The decision to tape a meeting, or not, should be made by those at the meeting, not the chair. Once taped, the meeting becomes part of the records of the owners corporation and must be kept and provided upon a search of the records
Taping helps the secretary prepare the written minutes accurately. Although it is not necessary (indeed ill advised) to quote each speaker verbatim, it allows the secretary to quote important phraseology about motions and resolutions.
If disputes erupt, the owners corporation can save the recordings to determine what was actually said at the meeting.The fact that the meeting is being taped may cause some committee members to think about the propositions put forward and make more rational decisions.Some people may object to the taping of the meeting, they can either leave the meeting or remain and choose not to speak.
On occasions someone with something important to say will refuse to speak into a tape recorder. There is a danger in permitting unrecorded communication–the individual may later deny actually making such statements, rendering it worthless.Sometimes speakers want nothing that proves they are making accusations against another owner.
They may not want to be on tape suggesting something unpopular. Yet, the chair may consider such information to be crucial. In an appropriate situation, the Chair could hold a vote to suspend taping.Sometimes committee members either openly or secretly tape meetings without permission.
Once it is learned that a member is recording the meeting, a decision needs to be made whether or not to allow the taping to continue.