Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Something INTERESTING and on

The following is an excerpt from email correspondence with CAHC.....these are common issues that may be useful for all...please feel free to add your comments....

These JMC decisions portend to potentially serious lapses of good governance, transparency and accountability. 1. Closed Door Meeting For the first time, this 6th JMC meeting was declared as closed to non-JMC owners. The reason to keep out non-JMC members was not given prior to the meeting which was deliberately postponed by a week to emphasise the need for a closed meeeting. Under ACT 663 First Schedule [Subsection 11(4)] Committee may invite others to meetings - JMC can conduct closed door meetings - this may not be healthy but they reserve the right and if they exercise it we can't simply imply they have something to hide unless we have evidence. Transparency can be interpreted in many ways. Allowing you to attend does not mean transparency. Disclosing all Notice of meetings, agenda, attendees and minutes of meeting is transparency! Anyway if you are invited to JMC meetings you are not allowed to speak unless the chairman allows you and you definitely cannot vote on a decision! There should be greater transparency and care given by JMC when choosing to declare their deliberations within CLOSED DOOR meetings in the future. 2. No Meeting Agenda Although not the first time, the meeting was specifically informed that there was no agenda for the meeting despite some JMC members who had earlier sent in their items for inclusion as the agenda. However, the chair did have an agenda of his own which was used as the meeting progressed. In other words, agendas are being used to promote certain ideas or personal goals at the exclusion of others. All meetings must have Notice of Meeting which must contain date, time, venue and agenda of meeting. Any meetings conducted without a clear documented agenda is not a properly convened meeting. JMC members can refuse to attend the meeting hence the lack of quorum shall render the meeting void. Attendees can choose to walk out of the meeting if they found out the meeting has strayed from its original agenda or it is not addressing the agenda of the meeting and demand that the secretary minute the breach or violation. Without proper quorum the meeting cannot continue. The Chairman cannot on its own volition introduce agenda as the meeting proceeds. The JMC members can ask the Chairman to cease whatever he is doing and demand he adheres to the agenda stated in the notice of meeting. If he remains recalcitrant the JMC members can demand the secretary to minute it and then walk out the meeting! 3. Adoptions of Past Minutes of Meetings Minutes for meetings Nos. 4 & 5 were presented for adoption despite serious flaws regarding their accuracies discovered a month before. After a lengthy debate stretching for almost an hour, the meeting finally decided to send back the minutes to the secretary for re-drafting. At the time of writing, the re-drafted versions are still unavailable. If there are discrepancies in the recording of the minutes of meeting, the JMC committee members during the meeting can highlight or bring to the notice of the JMC members the errors and correct the error via a proposer and a seconder. The Secretary must record the proceedings. There is no need to send the recorded minutes for redrafting by the secretary as it could be done immediately during the meeting where correction can be done in situ!The corrected minutes will then tabled in the next meeting. All JMC members can record the corrections and make sure the minutes are recorded accordingly. 4. Disciplinary Action Against A JMC Member The meeting took an unusual step to censor the member for fowarding an email, which was relevant to the larger interests of owners, to the forum, by way of a proposed warning letter. This was done without prior notice and without a written set of internal disciplinary guidelines to back up such a decision. In addition, in a completely unrelated move, the adjudged member was further to have his portfolio on EXPENSES & COLLECTIONS unceremoniously and arbitrarily taken away and thus further isolating him as an effective voice in providing the necessary checks and balance within JMC. That is why we have always stressed that the JMCs come up with a SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) and House Rules for the JMB to govern the JMC members in conduct, discipline and decision making. If no SOP is in existence the adjudge member can file in a complaint with the COB or even instigate legal action against the JMB. Was he even given a show cause letter for that matter? Was he given a chance to explain his case before a properly convened enquiry panel or board? Were there also properly spelt out penalties for offences mentioned? An if so who were the parties to that decision? Who gave the JMC members the right to remove him from his current portfolio? Was a meeting properly convened with the agenda clearly spelt out to remove him? 5. Purchases During the meeting, two proposed purchases were pushed through for endorsement without giving JMC prior opportunity to fully review all aspects of the proposals prior to the meeting, so as to clearly ascertain and satisfy themselves the cost vs benefits of the excercise. These are: 1. A chip-based photo-embossed resident access card system2. Phase One - CCTVs system No details as regards to the specifications, invited bidders, evaluation criteria, etc, have been made available to us to date despite 2 reminders. More worrying is the fact that no one quite knows what Phase Two is and how much it is going to cost! us !!! The combined proposals are estimated at more than RM30,000.00. The intended purchases have raised very serious questions begging for urgent answers, surrounding such issues as: 1. What are the under-lying justifications? 2. How would these proposals benefit the residents in a tangible way? 3. Were there a comprehensively written concept proposal presented to JMC AND the owners to seek their views and acceptance? 4. Who are the bidders? Are they qualified in their areas of expertise? 5. What are the evaluation criteria? 6. Is there a pre-approved budget agreed to by JMC? Or worse, are they based on an "open", no limit budget?! 7. Does JMC or the person(s) approving the purachses have the financial authority to commit JMB without first consulting the owners? 8. If not, has there being any written or built-in checks and balance mechanism in place to guard against: - ill-conceived purchases (which is later proven as unworkable) - financial inpropriety, etc In the event of having over-looked or ignored the inherent defects, deliberate or otherwise, to the basic proposal concept, do the owners have the right to seek - recourse to person(s) who made such purchases such as seeking compensation? See my comments on Q4 on SOPs and House Rules. As i have said if there were SOPs where 'checks and balances' are in placed than the JMC need not always have to consult the JMB OR residents. Our questions revert to whether the JMC has the authority to decide on the purchase to the tune or RM30,000. If SOPs says all expenditure less than RM40,000 for example then they are exempt from consulting the JMB or residents. BUT they still have to go through proper process of getting a minimum of 3 tenders (recommended by COB) for the project. The tenders must be explicit, well documented, name of company and shareholders, specifications, contracts etc. After a decision has been taken by the JMC, they will have to document their reasons for accepting that particular tender. Any member of the JMC who may have any vested interest must recuse himself from the decision making. All documents pertaining to the approval must be properly filed and minuted for the perusal of the JMB and COB. Failing to do all this invites future lawsuits from any complainant in the JMB if poper procedure are not complied and practiced.. Lastly, all minutes must be signed by the decision makers of the JMC; JMC members who object to the tender may choose not to sign the minutes of approval OR meeting thus abstaining them from future lawsuits. So all these places the JMC members to perform their duties with utmost care.If the RM30,000 is above the amount stated in the SOPs then JMC cannot make a decision on the tender. They will have to convene an EGM under section 10(2) C to put to the members to decide on the acceptance of the tenders. Actually i would recommend all major decisions to be taken by members during an EGM and this would completely absolved the JMC from future lawsuits instituted by its members. However, i believe most JMCs prefer not to consult its members during an EGM because

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