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  • #62092
    newlsie
    Flatchatter

    I had the unfortunate and very upsetting experience to attend the AGM of my friends strata.  Firstly the strata manager could not get the equipment to work and we watched 15 minutes of bungling whilst she tried to get it to work. 
     
    I wonder if she will charge the SP for that time. 
     
    There were about 10 people in the room and about 5 people virtually.  Because the equipment was not working the virtual people could not see or interact with the people in the room.  Only the SM could see the questions they were sending through and she did not pass this information on to the room. 
     
    Half the room wanted to switch strata managers and the other half didn’t.  When the motion for change of strata came up for discussion the Chairman asked her to leave the room whilst the meeting discussed the matter. The SM refused.  She was then asked to remain silent whilst they discussed the matter.  She kept interjecting.  One of the Owners behind me kept asking her not to be so rude, and she really was very rude. 
     
    Evidence was provided where she had paid invoices without authority. 
    Evidence was provided where work was noted on the financial documents under electrical repairs when the invoice was paid to a committee member without approval and had nothing to do with electrical repairs. 
    Evidence was provided where the SM wanted to repair an owners shower at OC expense – this was not an original bathroom. 
    More evidence was provided where NSW Fair Trading had identified failures in two of the strata companies procedures. 
     
    Accusations were made that the SM ingratiates herself with the SC in order to keep her job. 
     
    The meeting was in total disarray with people shouting over the top of others.
    This meeting was a shambles and makes me feel sick to the core.  Right was not the winner – the bullies were.
    Any ideas how this meeting could have been held more responsibly?  This is so wrong.
     

Viewing 8 replies - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
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  • #62108
    TrulEConcerned
    Flatchatter

    One thing comes to mind: why was the subject of sacking the strata manager listed for the AGM?

    It could have and should have been dealt with at a general meeting, without the presence of the strata manager, as many simple general meetings are.

    Some years ago, one strata I am involved with (not as closely as I am with others) had a committee member agitating to sack the strata manager. I really was not too intimate with that strata scheme, so I went with the flow. Maybe it was a personality issue or fraud. I don’t know and I do not recall chapter and verse being given to the committee.

    The committee arranged a general meeting 2 months prior to the AGM, the latter was always run by the strata mgr. At the in person general meeting (it was some years ago before ZOOM etc), the only motion was to sack the strata manager and the procedure ie what sections of the SSM Act applied was listed verbatim.

    The motion was carried.

    At the AGM the chairman reminded the strata mgr of the general meeting’s resolution and formally dismissed the strata mgr at the AGM, notwithstanding the strata mgr still acted for several more months as per his contract.

    #62126
    Just Asking
    Flatchatter

    Was the Chairman chairing the meeting, or only step up when the motion regarding changing strata managing agents came up? As it is the Chairman’s role to preside over meetings and make determinations regarding procedure one would expect that whoever was occupying that role for the meeting should have called everyone to order, or adjourned the meeting to another date if the owners would not cooperate.

    Many schemes only have an AGM each year, no other general meetings. If the strata managing agent is to be involved with organising an extra general meeting it can get quite expensive, particularly if there are many owners or a venue has to be arranged.

    For smoother running in the future, in cases where it is proposed to change the strata managing agent it is better to obtain sufficient votes in favour beforehand and also have a replacement strata managing agent lined up if the agreement is close to expiring. The motions for the meeting could then include one to appoint the new strata managing agent, with a copy of their proposal/contract attached to the agenda.

    Admittedly all easier said than done.

    #62128
    kaindub
    Flatchatter

    Truleconcerned

    what you have described is that the OC limited the powers of the strata manager.

    Thats a pretty easy thing to do.

    Sacking a strata manager is very difficult. Firstly their contract will dictate the conditions that they can be sacked for (and incompetence is not one of the conditions). Secondly they can be removed by a court if found guilty of some criminal offence (eg fraud) but the OC has the burden to prove their case, which is time consuming and expensive.

     

    #62141
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    what you have described is that the OC limited the powers of the strata manager.

    I agree with your subsequent comments that sacking a strata manager can be hard to achieve, thanks to the protections built into the strata strata management agreement, but I can’t see where the above narrative applied to limiting their powers.

    It’s hard to tell from the original post whether the strata management contract was up for renewal in any case (which is required after three years) or whether this was an attempt to break the contract early.

    Sad to say, the OP has witnessed just another day in strata where anger and disappointment have led to unnecessary conflict. If the strata manager had any integrity left, she would resign but her cronies on the committee seem determined to keep her for whatever reason.

    I wonder what our friends at SCA, the strata managers’ professional body, would say if this was brought to their attention (not a lot would be my guess).

    #62160
    kaindub
    Flatchatter

    My one experience with SCA is dismal.

    The OC sacked the strata manager, a well known Sydney company.

    We then lodged a complaint with SCA. It was supported by good proof. They gave the complaint to the strata manager (that’s reasonable ).

    It took a long time to get a reply, after which SCA replied that no breaches of their rules had occurred. However they would not release to the OC the response from the strata manager, nor the minutes where the SCA board reviewed the case.

    No justice there.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by .
    #62180
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    That’s an all-too common story.  Even Fair Trading has never disciplined a strata manager for incompetence or dishonesty, so why would we expect their professional body to be any different?

    However, SCA’s newly minted Professional Standards system comes with a code of conduct which also means that later this year their new standard contract will be issued and it should be a lot less one-sided.

    And, I am told their highly dubious “Owners Section” will become more about education and information, rather than the somewhat fatuous notion that it was there to represent owners in any way that cut across their major role which is and was to look after strata managers.

    #62185
    Flame Tree (Qld)
    Flatchatter

    Timing is important here. If the Manager’s contract is up for renewal and it’s an upcoming AGM then the process can be a little easier. But the disgruntled others need put in the work to find and assess another, and then to put them up for a comparative vote as you will likely need more than one. You can explain the merits of your preferred Manager in the lead up supporting stuff to your Motion that is sent out and it essentially then becomes just another vote on the day. This gives time for folks to get their heads around it, vote early, and even avoid any in-depth discussion on the day.

    But if the contract still has time to go rather than first trying to remove them you might try a vote of no confidence (can you do that?), or just a discussion directly or ideally via the committee, that they haven’t appeared up to the task, and hope that is enough inspiration for them to try a little harder.

    #62189
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    you might try a vote of no confidence (can you do that?)

    It’s going to make very little difference if the strata manager knows they’re not wanted but is determined to hang on anyway.  The only way you can sack a manager mid-contract is by invoking one of the clauses in their contract and since the standard strata management contract protects managers to a ridiculous degree, anything short of a physical assault on a committee member won’t do it. (By the way, assaulting owners being a sackable offence used to be a clause in Queensland management contracts and maybe still is.)

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