Getting around treasurer who controls with ‘iron hand’

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

Tony Gioventu

Dear Condo Smarts: At our condo in Victoria we elected seven council members at the AGM in August. In early September, six of the seven council members resigned, leaving only the treasurer. Our strata basically ran with only one council member controlling everything until the owners signed a petition to call for a special general meeting to elect a new council.

The treasurer refused to call the meeting so we had to wait until the time expired and convene the meeting ourselves. This is not the first time this has occurred, involving the same person, who controls our finances with an iron hand. We couldn’t find anything in our bylaws or the Act to solve the problem without an SGM, and we don’t know how to elect a new council without this person.

— GW, Victoria

Dear GW: Electing only the council members that you want is a simple governance decision under the Act and Standard Bylaws. At general meetings, all matters are decided by a majority vote unless a higher voting threshold is required. The election of council is by majority vote.

You don’t have to elect seven council members, but you must elect a minimum of three. When the vote for the nominated council members is called, one person should request that the vote be conducted by secret ballot, regardless of the number of nominations, and then each person is elected based on those who receive a majority of the votes that are cast. Having a firm hand on the finances is not unto itself a problem, However, if the treasurer acts contrary to the decisions of council, or refuses to provide copies of all the treasury information, council needs to replace that person quickly and act to protect the strata’s financial assets.

When the strata fails to elect a council, or the council resigns, there is no provision for a meeting to be called. Even with only one council member there is no provision for that person to call a meeting without a petition of the owners. It may be possible to address this problem with a strata bylaw amendment that requires those council members forming less than a remaining quorum to convene a special general meeting for the election of a new council. I recommend that each strata seek legal counsel to ensure the bylaws comply with the Act and Regulations.

Tony Gioventu is executive director of the Condominium Home Owners’ Association

[email protected]

© The Vancouver Province 2008


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