SA executive committee’s proposed HR mandate fails

Executive committee motion meant to stabilize SA, says director of education

A motion to place the authority for human resources in the hands of the Student Association (SA) executive committee was defeated at the board of directors meeting on Feb. 13.

Two clauses in the motion created concern about the executive committee taking on more control of the SA, which funds The Dialog.

The first clause said that the executive committee would “manage and make decisions with respect to all matters related to human resources, employment and staffing,” of the SA including hiring and termination of employees.

The second clause stated that the executive would “assume all responsibility for, and authority over, all respects,” of the SA’s full-time staff related to ongoing human resources, employment and staffing. It was written in both clauses that the committee would be acting in consultation with legal counsel.

Ron Greenberg, the SA’s business representative, said that he was concerned that the motion consolidated the power of entire board into the hands of the executive committee for human resources issues.

But the larger issue for Greenberg was how the motion could have taken day-to-day human resources responsibilities away from the SA’s management staff.

“I was dissenting because that’s a huge motion to bring forward and it seemed like there was more to say, but nothing was being said,” explained Greenberg. “And so with the information I was given, and we were given, I felt it was inappropriate to vote on something this drastic and this sweeping.”

“The motion as it was presented wasn’t in the best of form, frankly,” said Carolyn Mooney, the SA’s accessibility representative, who also voted against the motion. “There are components to it that have consequences.”

While it was amended to alter the first clause and remove the second during the meeting, the motion was defeated with nine votes in favour, five opposed and one abstaining.

Freeyelle Mehari, who chaired the meeting, said that because the motion would affect the SA’s bylaws, it would have needed a two-thirds majority in order to pass.

Tiffany White, the SA’s director of education, said while the wording of the motion may have come off as aggressive, the intention was to make sure that the SA is functioning at its best and to help create some consistency for the organization.

“We want to create some kind of stability,” said White. “We want to make sure that our bylaws, our (human resources) policies, our governing documents, everything that basically rules the SA, we want to make sure that it’s all in line with one another, but we can’t do that if we’re only in charge of collective bargaining.”

The SA is currently in bargaining for a first contract with its full-time staff who are represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.

While some board members, like Greenberg, said the motion expanded the executive committee’s power farther than what is outlined in the SA’s bylaws and governing documents, director of operations Gemeda Beker said that the motion was within the executive’s authority.

Beker maintains that the motion didn’t require a two-thirds majority vote and should have passed.

Beker said that the executive committee will present the motion with more information about their responsibilities at an upcoming board meeting.

“Even though we do have the power per se, as stated in the bylaws, I still want to bring it to the board because I like to have a unified board,” said Beker. “I want to feel like the whole board is actually supporting the executive.”

The SA’s by-laws do not outline the responsibilities of the executive, but the Voting Directors Accountability Manual states that the executive is responsible for the strategic direction of the board, co-ordinating the work of board committees and “supervising the executive director and, through him or her, the staff.”

The by-laws do say that “to adopt, amend, or rescind operational policy, a majority of two-thirds of the board must vote in favour.”

The Dialog has learned that the board is currently planning to hold another meeting before the upcoming election period but no official notice has been sent yet.

Carlos Carli, the SA’s director of equity who moved the original motion, and Brittany DaCosta, the director of campus life, declined to comment for this story.

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SA executive committee’s proposed HR mandate fails