Is it just a post GFC thing

Is it just a post GFC thing, or have we all decided that we are no longer prepared to pay for leadership?

The usual rush of November AGMs for our listed companies has concluded with shareholder voting overwhelmingly against remuneration packages for senior executives and directors.

Nowhere is the push against senior management pay so overt as in the United States in the finance and banking sector. Calls for government intervention are loud and clear.

And in strata land where we work, the story is no different. Everyone knows the price sensitivity of strata management fees but in this last week I have seen a case of the humble honorarium go horribly wrong.

An honorarium is a token fee paid to volunteers for a job well done. Usually designed to reimburse out of pocket expenses associated with doing a job, some owners corporations are using such payments, as a basis to attract and keep in house talent to do a job that outsourced would cost much more.

The logic and value of these payments for owners corporations and bodies corporate are indisputable, but for some reason they just don’t work. The payments even though sanctioned by a general meeting just leave a sour taste in the mouths of owners and those who take the payment more often than not regret they did and leave active service feeling bitter and unloved.

As volunteerism dies as we are seeing it do, and as government places more and more regulatory burdens on volunteers (just look at Queensland’s unbelievably complicated new pool fence laws for an example), it is inevitable that the pay scale for strata management must change. But more pay for committees and managers doing things the way its done now does not seem to be happening.

Maybe the answer is abdication not delegation. Perhaps we get to a stage where committees say this is too hard and pay someone to make the decisions rather than advise them what they should be doing. Worth thinking about because the current system is not working for anyone.

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