September 4, 2020 at 1:13 pm #236948HabermasMember
Earlier this year we had an AGM on zoom and one of the owner’s discussion topics was Code of Conduct. The discussion started with one of the lot representitives getting stuck into me with several character based assassinations with no linking to topic. I was completely horrified and even commented “you are completely slaying me in front of all my neighbours, this is defamation” yet he continued and I was forced to get up and walk away from my computer for a moment because it was so overwhelming. It was at this point the strata manager said if he didn’t stop she would have to call the meeting closed.
Later in the discussion a more recent owner said that the SC/OC emails were “illegal” and caused at least 4 unnamed people “anxiety” and all correspondence should now go through the strata manager, I believe, like some others at the meeting, that this was a team effort, devised in advance and was especially target at me. I have been the treasurer for 11 years and I am a very active member, often starting owner voting threads via email. This culture was common and used by several lot owners up to this point and had always been functional. Strata Managers can take along time to attend to your needs and this as an option is beneficial in certain circumstances for this reason. There was also a suggestion that we no longer organise committee meetings ourselves and get our strata manager to do it. There was no vote and most owners did not comment nor were they given an opportunity to comment. However when the minutes came out, this discussion point was noted as “Roles of EC Memebers / EC code of Conduct /Works Approval Process – Attached to the minutes is a Copy of the Code of Conduct to be signed an returned by the Strata Committee” there was no attachment and I queried this as well as the departure from what actually took place with the strata manager and she did not change it or send through any document.
We are having a committee meeting soon and I asked for an item “unsancitoned new process – code of conduct solution” to be put on the agenda. Partly so everyone can contribute to the discussion and log how they viewed the carry on at the AGM but also because communications that have taken place since are mostly nasty, particularly towards me and as the public forum has been deconstructed there are now many asides happening, some of which involve elderly residents being manipulated and it needs to be addressed. The strata has send through the agenda and interestingly the document referenced in the AGM has now appeared and I am assuming someone is going to suggest we all sign it. I don’t know who wrote it or who suggested it but I know it has nothing to do with my agenda addition (which it will no doubt be associated with) and I will not be signing it. It feels again like another attempt to gag people and limit their ability to debate the issues and tease out more meaningful, critically analysed outcomes for the building.
I will post the rules after my question, which is – Is this legal? Can a building write it’s own rule book? From an outsiders point of you do you think this is administratively intimidating behaviour? What rights do I have as a lot owner to improve my experience? Should I take legal action”
Be committed to acquiring a basic understanding of and comply with, the relevant legislation, this code and all rules/by-laws concerning this scheme.
Act honestly and fairly and not unreasonably disclose information held by the owners corporation, including information about an owner.
Act in the best interests of the owners corporation unless it is unlawful to do so.
Not cause a nuisance or otherwise behave in a way to bring disrepute or diminish the good reputation of this committee.
Respect fellow members’ opinions and differences and foster a spirit of teamwork and co-operation.
Be committed to attending all meetings of the committee other than in exceptional circumstances such as illness.
Comply with committee process and procedure as determined by the committee from time to time.
Disclose to the committee any conflict of interest I may have in a matter before the committee and not to vote on such matters.September 8, 2020 at 7:30 am #253632Amanda FarmerExpert
I’m sorry to hear you’re going through all of this.
In relation to a code of conduct generally, yes it is legal to adopt such a code – assuming it is done via properly convened meeting.
I don’t see a problem with the proposed terms, on their face. There are a few words I’d change, like “unreasonably disclose information” should be “unlawfully disclose information” and I’m not sure when it would ever be “unlawful” to act “in the best interests of the Owners Corporation.”
I imagine, on the whole, the items listed are things you’d do/refrain from doing in the normal course of your duties as treasurer anyway.
Is it intended that people cannot serve on the committee if they do not agree to be bound by the code? If that’s the case, it should be stated and best practice would be to make clear that people should not nominate for the committee if they are not prepared to sign up to the code. Things get tricky if a committee member refuses to sign once they are elected…
Also, what is the result if a committee member breaches the code? Do they have to resign? Who decides if there has been a breach? A list of aspirations on their own achieves little.
If nasty, defamatory communications are happening, it seems to me your fellow committee members would be in breach of this code, so perhaps it is something that you could use to your benefit?
Amanda.September 9, 2020 at 9:25 am #262647CatherineMember
Folks can use comical leverage to promote their agendas and weigh-in with other members, friends, or relatives (on or off-site in flamboyant style) within their little kingdoms. Agreed that a Code of Conduct is a great standard for accountability and a protective mechanism for strata and residents alike. As a ‘stop-gap’ against being hassled, I taped an instructional note on my intercom “Direct queries to Strata on…” I now rest in peace😊September 9, 2020 at 11:21 am #263285HabermasMember
Hi Amanda & Catherine
Thanks for your responses, the committee voted to scrap the list of rules as they didn’t think it was necessary.
I think most of the behaviour of concern is more likely governed by legislation over and above anything our little kingdom’s current game of thrones could introduce.
The saga continues
HabermasSeptember 14, 2020 at 6:33 am #297213Amanda FarmerExpert
Thanks for the update Habermas.
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