In a Body Corporate, 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 Body Corporate.
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 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.
These secretarial duties and responsibilities can be discharged by the appointment of a Body Corporate Manager. If you have a Body Corporate Manager, many of your duties may be undertaken by them. The specific duties will be outlined in your agreement with the Manager. It is important to note the Body Corporate Manager is not in charge – they work for and with the Committee.
The Body Corporate Manager can only do what the community asks them to, which means they may either be engaged to assist the Committee, or as is often the case, to perform the duties of Secretary and Treasurer. However, the Body Corporate Manager does not have voting rights over any matter, and functions only as an administrator. Smaller schemes without a Committee may engage and authorize a Body Corporate Manager to undertake all the functions of a Committee. This can also be done for larger Body Corporate but is not common.
We asked Marilyn, Secretary for Marrakesh, what advice she would give to a newly appointed Secretary. Marilyn stated “Do not assume that because SSKB undertakes many of your legislated roles that you are redundant; far from it. You have a responsibility to all owners and should work closely with the Committee, Chairperson and Treasurer in particular, and the SSKB appointed manager to ensure accurate records are kept and communicated clearly to all Owners.”
If you have questions on the role of the Secretary in your Committee, contact your SSKB Community Manager. They can advise you on the specific roles of Committee Members and the unique challenges which may be associated with your scheme.