USS split over chief of staff position

Kelly Pickerel

The senators at yesterday’s nearly two-hour Undergraduate Student Senate meeting, the longest of the semester, finished presenting bylaws for the new Undergraduate Student Government.

The executive and programming director positions were presented for the first time, and the previously presented senator and director revisions were discussed.

The executive director works in the same capacity as the current director. He or she will oversee USG meetings while serving as chief spokesperson of the student government.

One issue discussed extensively with the position was the proposed duty of administering one-year appointments for USG employees, including an administrative assistant, public relations and marketing assistant, graphic designers and a new chief of staff.

The senators were split on whether the chief of staff position was necessary.

Current Executive Director Katie Hale explained the chief of staff as a treasurer who keeps track of USG money, separate from the Allocations Committee. But, she said the position would incorporate more than just financial aspects.

“They would be balancing a checkbook, in a sense,” she said.

Hale said this position would be needed now that the government is larger and will have more money to keep track of.

Some senators said the position’s duties could be given to the director of business and finance.

“The chief of staff is overkill,” said John Wetmore, senator for governmental affairs. “It’s a possible waste of tuition dollars.”

Jonathan Bey, senator for community affairs, disagreed with eliminating the position. He said it needs to be separated from the director to make handling student money less confusing.

The position title itself was confusing, said Andrew Ljubi, senator for business and finance.

“‘Chief of staff’ sounds dumb,” Ljubi said. “Call it treasurer. No one will understand what it is or want to run for it (during elections).”

Wetmore jokingly agreed that a title change was needed.

“We don’t have any ‘chief of staff’ majors at the time,” Wetmore said.

The director of programming bylaws were not as hotly protested.

The director will oversee the USG Programming Board Standing Committee, which acts as the All Campus Programming Board does now.

ACPB will be eliminated in the spring and turned into the new USG committee.

All of the director and senator position revisions were reviewed and will be voted on at the second meeting of the spring semester.

Yesterday was the last USS meeting of the semester. Meetings will resume in January.

Contact student politics reporter Kelly Pickerel at [email protected].