The Duties of a Chairperson
Posted by Dino Biordi
What makes for an effective Chairperson of a Strata Committee?
The Chairperson is first and foremost a leader with integrity. Someone who seeks to understand the majority of the Strata Committee and effectively communicates the objectives of the overall scheme allowing for a successful outcome for the Owners Corporation.
We are told too often of owners and committee members concerned about not being heard. That they often feel, as a committee member, they don't have a voice. That the Chairperson, often incorrectly thought as the one in charge, is single-minded and gets away questionable decision making. Unfortunately, not only is this ineffective, but it leads to having a toxic Strata Committee that talks past one another. However, an effective Chairperson eliminates the stumbling blocks of having a disconnected committee that leads to oversight and diminishes the efficiency of any Strata Committee.
The focus, therefore, is to ensure a Strata Committee elects a Chairperson that communicates with clarity, understands the sensitive nature of different perspectives of committee members and seeks to establish a fair discussion on the concerns at hand. Other attributes of a Chairperson include remaining impartial and objective, welcoming people's perspective, is a strategic thinker, respects all feedback and captures all the decisions from votes in the minutes of an agenda.
The role of a Chairperson fulfils a critical leadership role, including shaping the overall committee, it's integrated functions and individual effectiveness. During a Strata Committee meeting, a Chairperson must remain ethical, fair, diligent and in control of the Strata Committee meetings outcomes - especially when there is disagreement between individuals. Like all leadership roles, the position of the committee's Chairperson requires a sense of diplomacy. An effective Chairperson will streamline the committee's workload, delegate some of those workloads, and conduct investigations to resolve any issues or disputes within a Strata Scheme.
The Chairperson should invite the Building Manager to attend and assist with the meetings. Building Managers, provide support through providing the updates of cases, projects and overall schemes activities. LUNA's Building Managers are expected to submit a Building Managers report which includes items awaiting approval from the Strata Committee. During the Strata Committee meeting, the Chairperson may ask for assistance from the Building Manager to clarify jobs, costs or compliance issues.
A well organised Chairperson would have ensured the Strata Manager circulated the meeting agenda to each all strata Committee members. Before opening the meeting, the Chairperson should outline the rules of engagement, reminding everyone to respect each other. Once a session is declared open, the Chairperson controls the meeting when the discussion is ongoing. It's the Chairperson's responsibility to ensure that it continues to flow smoothly by involving all members present and by not permitting one person to dominate a meeting or minimise interjections.
The Chairperson has the following duties:
- Assist the Secretary in maintaining the register of unit owners.
- Addresses day-to-day operations with the Building Manager.
- Ensures Owners Corporation are effectively managed.
- Promotes a functioning strata committee to work as a team.
- Provides support to the Treasurer, Secretary and other Strata Committee members.
- Assists in the preparation of an agenda for each annual general meeting.
- Liaise with the Secretary for all documents to be circulated in sufficient time before the meeting.
- Check and audits the Minutes of each strata committee meeting.
- Remains impartial and avoids becoming involved in taking sides during debates within the Strata Committee meeting.
- Opens and Closes meetings in the beginning and end, respectively.
- Records resolutions voted on and whether they were passed or defeated.
- Assists in keeping financial accounts and records.
- Sign documents on behalf of Owners Corporation.
- Notifies the owners of the results stemming from a vote that's seeking a resolution.
To conclude, a healthy and functioning Strata Committee comes down to the leadership skills of the Chairperson. In turn, the functioning Strata Committee creates a warm and positive community within the strata scheme. When a Chairpersons is calm, ethical and objective, the best outcomes will materialise that are both in-line with the majority of the people and the strata schemes vision.