Restructuring of executive positions sparks discussion about SA’s lack of accountability measures at Annual General Meeting
The Student Association’s (SA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Nov. 25 was uneventful and lacked student participation.
Following last year’s AGM, which was well attended, this year’s had approximately 50 people with much less to debate once it started.
Paul Joakim from Grant Thornton LLP went over the audited financial statements for 2013-2014 stating the financial information provided by the SA was accurate.
Having revived themselves from a deficit of $188,959 in 2012-2013 the SA ended the 2013-2014 year with a surplus of $860,852 as of May 31, 2014.
“The surplus will be added into completing the (Casa Loma) renovation without adding additional loans,” said Geneve Gray, the SA’s director of finance and operations. “We’re finding different ways that we can use it for the renovation instead of outsourcing and adding additional debt, and to see if we can fund the entire project with what we have.”
The SA was able to dig themselves out of earlier deficits, the health care fund, which had a deficit of $381,168 in 2012-2013, posted a surplus of $187,480 in 2013-2014.
The TTC fund had a surplus of $23,441, swinging from the previous year’s deficit of $21,196, with $483,864 of additional sales.
The building fund had a surplus of $315,622 up from the surplus of $173,395 in 2012-2013.
The unrestricted fund, which the SA uses to fund operations and has the most control over, had a surplus of $334,309 up from a $40,010 surplus the year before.
In addition to the financial statements, the AGM also saw a restructuring of the SA’s executive. The director of education and equity was split into two full-time positions. The AGM eliminated the director of public relations position, and the director of operations got a boost from 25 hours a week during the fall and winter semesters to full time.
Gray was the only person to speak against the changes before it quickly went to a vote, which carried.
“I voted against the motion to make all the executives full-time with no accountability measures in place,” said Gray. “I feel that motion wasn’t beneficial to the Student Association or to the actual students of George Brown College (who) feel like their money is being put into the right places.”
Students at the AGM voted to change the ASL constituency representative to accessibility representative, allowing for a broader range of possible student applicants.
However, a motion that failed to make the AGM’s agenda sparked the most discussion.
Elizabeth Orbé, a student in the child and youth worker program, asked the executives why they defeated a motion at the Nov. 13 board meeting that would have seen a new article added to the bylaws on disciplining directors.
“I feel like everyone should be accountable for their actions or lack of actions. I heard that the bylaw was put through with no discussion at all,” Orbé told The Dialog. “I saw it in The Dialog and it said it was defeated with no discussion, and I was pissed off because I feel like there needs to be accountability if not by the board members then by someone else.”
Saroop Pahal, the SA’s director of internal affairs, responded to the question saying the board didn’t feel they should have that much power, and that the positions were more of a learning experience.
Speaking to The Dialog Gray said, “it’s not fair to be using the students’ money and not performing, not doing the role.”
“For people saying they’re representing students, their constituencies, and (then) don’t vote for something like that; It’s like you’re saying one thing but you’re not doing what you said you’re coming in to do,” said Gray.
When asked by The Dialog why the motion for disciplining directors failed Halley Requena-Silva, director of student life, responded with “no comment.”
Pahal did not reply to phone calls and emails for comment by press time.