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What is a Chairperson and what is their role?

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In this article, we touch on the subject of What is a chairperson and his/her role in a community scheme.

The Chairperson: A common question in community schemes is “What is a Chairperson and what role do they fulfill?” While it sounds “prestigious”, it can be a thankless job. The main roles of the Chairperson are to chair meetings and to ensure that the rest of the committee members are doing what they are supposed to do. This person thus needs to have strong skills in commanding meetings and being able to act impartially.

Going forward we will be explaining What a chairperson is and the role they play in more detail.

How is a Chairperson Elected?

Depending on your Scheme’s Rules, a chairperson can generally be elected in one of two ways:

  • At the AGM (Annual General Meeting) of the Scheme when the new committee members are decided on.
  • At a Board meeting (committee meeting for a Scheme), which is normally held shortly after the AGM (Annual General Meeting).

What voting rights does the Chairperson have?

The Chairperson has an ordinary and a casting vote. The ordinary vote, which is used in the person’s capacity as a committee member/ owner, and a casting vote, which is a vote that only the Chairperson can use in a meeting when having to break a deadlock. After all the votes have been cast, if the votes are tied, the casting vote will fall to the Chairperson.

Can the Chairperson be removed and how?

Depending on your Scheme’s Rules, the Chairperson of Scheme can be removed in one of two ways, either:

  • by ordinary resolution (majority vote) of owners at a general meeting of the Scheme – provided that the intention to vote upon this removal has been disclosed in the notice calling the meeting, or;
  • by majority vote of the committee members at a committee meeting.

Removal of the Chairperson from the office of Chairperson does not automatically remove him/her from the office as a committee member. The intention to vote upon the removal of the Chairperson from both offices would have to be disclosed in the notice calling the SGM (Special General Meeting) for the removal to be valid.

Does the Chairperson have to be present at the meeting? No, but then the Trustees must choose a temporary Chairperson for the duration of that meeting. The temporary Chairperson has the same voting rights as a normal Chairperson.

Does the Chairperson chair every meeting held with the committee members or the owners? The Chairperson is entitled to chair every committee meeting or owners’ general meeting unless otherwise decided at such meeting.

Does the Chairperson make all the decisions? It is a common misconception that the Chairperson has carte blanche over decisions of the Scheme. This is not the case as no committee members have the power to make sole decisions. All decisions pertaining to the Scheme are to be discussed amongst the committee members and then decided upon by majority resolution, unless, a specific committee member has been given a mandate on a particular portfolio to make decisions on their own within certain pre-agreed parameters.

As briefly outlined earlier in this newsletter, each committee member, including the chairman, is entitled to one vote. The only instance where the chairman will have one additional vote is if the votes cast by all the committee members result in a deadlock. Therefore, the chairman has no veto right. He does not have the ability to overrule his fellow committee members. The only power he does have is that of tie-breaker and this power is strictly reserved for committee members’ resolutions. When it comes to votes cast by the members to pass ordinary, special or unanimous resolutions the chairman’s vote carries the exact same weight in number as that of any other member.

This article forms part of Solvers comprehensive service provided to you – by keeping you informed and up to date with important news, including any changes to the Community Schemes industry.

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