This article about using electronic voting to fast track committee decisions on improvements to common property has been supplied by Karina Heinz, Progressive Strata Services and Paul Chevrot, Stratabox.
Question: Can our Chairperson instruct our difficult secretary to call for an electronic vote on a number of special resolutions as a way to fast track committee decisions?
Our scheme has a difficult Secretary on the committee.
Some other committee members would like to convene an electronic EGM to vote on suggested common property external additions.
The secretary has always been against the additions and has suggested that we have an EGM in March or April next year as a tactic to delay the process.
Can our Chairperson instruct the secretary to call for an electronic vote on a number of special resolutions as a way to fast track committee decisions?
Answer: Organising an electronic-only EGM is very easy depending on various conditions.
STRATA SCHEMES MANAGEMENT ACT 2015
- The secretary of the owners corporation may convene a meeting of the strata committee at any time.
- The secretary of the owners corporation, or any other member of the strata committee, must convene a meeting of the committee if requested to do so by at least one-third of the members of the committee.
- The meeting must be held–
- in the case of a large strata scheme, not later than 28 days after the request is made, or
- in the case of any other strata scheme, not later than 14 days after the request is made.
It may be easier to skip straight to a requisition (qualified request) served on the Secretary/Strata manager to call the meeting.
- The secretary or a strata committee of an owners corporation may convene a general meeting (that is not an annual general meeting) of the owners corporation at any time.
- The secretary of the owners corporation, or another officer if the secretary is absent, must convene a general meeting (that is not an annual general meeting) of the owners corporation as soon as practicable, and not later than 14 days after, receiving a qualified request.
- A meeting may be convened on a qualified request even if the first annual general meeting has not been held.
- A request is a “qualified request” for the purposes of this section if it is made by one or more owners of a lot or lots in the strata scheme having a total unit entitlement of at least one-quarter of the aggregate unit entitlements.
First, you have to ensure the scheme has the authority to vote electronically.
STRATA SCHEMES MANAGEMENT REGULATION 2016
- An owners corporation or strata committee may, by resolution, adopt any of the following means of voting on a matter to be determined by the corporation or committee:
- voting by means of teleconference, video-conferencing, email or other electronic means while participating in a meeting from a remote location,
- voting by means of email or other electronic means before the meeting at which the matter (not being an election) is to be determined by the corporation or committee (pre-meeting electronic voting).
- Without limiting subclause (1) (b), the other electronic means of voting may include requiring voters to access a voting website and to vote in accordance with directions contained on that website.
- If a matter may be determined partly by pre-meeting electronic voting, the notice of the meeting must include a statement that the relevant motion may be amended by a further motion given at the meeting after the pre-meeting electronic voting takes place and that consequently the pre-meeting vote may have no effect.
- A motion that is to be determined wholly by pre-meeting electronic voting may not be amended at the meeting for which the pre-meeting electronic voting is conducted.
- A motion that is to be determined partly by pre-meeting electronic voting must not be amended at the meeting for which the pre-meeting electronic voting is conducted if the effect of the amendment is to change the subject matter of the original motion.
- If a motion that is to be determined wholly or partly by pre-meeting electronic voting is amended at the meeting for which the pre-meeting electronic voting is conducted, the minutes of the meeting distributed to owners must be accompanied by notice of the change and a statement setting out the power to make a qualified request for a further meeting under section 19 of the Act.
Paul Chevrot: Organising an electronic-only EGM is very easy depending on various conditions:
- Has a motion to allow electronic voting already been approved?
- The size of the building
- The general profile of ownership (inv vs owner occupier, used to online or not…)
- The availability of the strata roll including email addresses
The main issue I can foresee here is that the secretary normally has the key role of facilitating this process. It will depend how formal/procedural the scheme/secretary are but there are ways around it of course.
If you have a question about using electronic voting to fast track committee decisions or something to add to the article, leave a comment below.
This post appears in Strata News #307.
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