In an Owners Corporation, a new Committee is elected at each Annual General Meeting by the lot owners. This Committee is responsible for the administrative and day-to-day running of the community, including making decisions on behalf of lot owners, and enforcing lawful decisions of the Owners Corporation.
Committees are comprised of three executive members – the Chairperson, the Treasurer and the Secretary, and Ordinary Members. Here we take a closer look at some of the duties of the Secretary.
The Secretaries duties and responsibilities can be discharged in part by the appointment of an Owners Corporation Manager as outlined in the administration agreement. If you have an Owners Corporation Manager, many of your duties may be undertaken by them and the specific duties will be outlined in your agreement with the Manager. The Owners Corporation Manager may either be engaged to assist the Committee, or, as is often the case, to perform many of the duties of Secretary and Treasurer. However, the Owners Corporation Manager does not have voting rights over any matter and functions only as an administrator. Smaller strata communities without a Committee may engage and authorise an Owners Corporation Manager to undertake all the functions of a Committee. This can also be done for larger Owners Corporations but is not commonplace.
The Secretary has various duties in their role as a member of the Executive Committee, and one of these is calling Committee and General Meetings. The Committee Secretary must advise Owners of any upcoming Committee Meetings by placing a Meeting Notice on the common property notice board (if applicable), or distributing notices to residents.
When preparing for an AGM, the Secretary must ask for nominations for Committee positions. If a notice inviting nominations is forwarded to lot owners, the Secretary must also invite owners to submit motions for the meetings. The Secretary is then also responsible for making up the ballot papers for the committee election, and sending the ballot papers and the other material with the meeting notices.
For an AGM, the Secretary must make available the roll, a list of Lot Owners with voting rights, and all proxy forms and voting papers, so voters may be able to view these documents at the meeting. Subsequent to voting, the Secretary must receive the completed voting papers, and the completed proxy forms for general and Committee meetings. In both Committee and general meetings, the Secretary is also required to take minutes and circulate copies of these to lot owners. They must also keep a record of the outcome of any decision taken outside of a meeting by the Committee.
As an extension of these record-keeping tasks, the Secretary must obtain quotes or tenders for major expenditure on common property when the project is proposed by the Committee. The Secretary also deals with any incoming or outgoing correspondence required of the Committee, which includes approvals for renovations or owning a pet, as well as attending things such as the renewal of insurance policies.
While some Secretaries decide to take on the full responsibility of the role, it is important to note that it is commonplace for most Secretaries to discharge the responsibilities to their Owners Corporation Manager as outlined in the administration agreement.