The last blog, "Couple interesting notes," received a lot of interesting comments, and brought up some neat points. I know when blogs have a lot of comments, people tend to skim through them and not fully digest them, so I wanted to bring them up to the main body of this blog and maybe get some more student thought on them.
In the last blog, I mentioned that SGA President Jeff Yeager told me that the library hours would be extended. I also pointed out that this would cost in the neighborhood of $1500. This brought up the first comment, from former SGA Vice President Ashley Hicks:
Comment to Jeff-
You promised that the SGA could help with the funding? Exactly how much "help" does he require, or does he expect he will need? Can the $7,000 in the Special Projects fund handle this? Otherwise, this will definitely need to come before the Senate since we do not actually know how much money we will have next year.Also, does Dr. Rowe have the bodies that can actually work longer hours, because I know that this has been a problem in the past, or will he be employing more people? Have students been considered? Of course, it would unpractical to have students working longer hours during their finals, so I assume he'd have to hire another person.
I posted my questions here because I feel that Chris, as well as his readers, would probably be interested in the answers.
She's right, I was interested in the answers. Jeff was interested in giving the answers, as he responded with the following post:
We are going to pay for the library through cutting officer pay. This year, the officers made approximately $31,750 (in that ballpark). We have created a budget for officer pay that will be approximately $27,000. Here is what the officers will make:
President--$400 instead of $450
Vice President--$225 instead of $200
Business Manager--$375 instead of $425
Secretary--$225 instead of $350
Ombudsman--$325 instead of $350
Attorney General--$325 instead of $350
Public Defender--$325 instead of $350
Chief Justice--$325 instead of $425
Prime Justice--$150 instead of $200.
Parliamentarian--$0 instead of $50
This will free up all of that money in the budget to spend approximately $1500 or so on the library hours (Dr. Aloia has not gotten me a number yet, but it's going to be sent to me soon), as well as free up over $1500 for student organizations, according to our Business Manager's spreadsheet. The University will also cover half of the costs along with us. The request to fund the library will definitely come before the Senate in the fall, which should not have any difficulty passing. If it happens that Dr. Aloia needs the money over the summer, I will convene the executive to see about acting then only if we have to.
Secondly, to answer your next question, it will be students who will work past 10 PM. Considering this, parts of the library will be closed off since a member of the staff isn't here, but that's better than nothing. It will definitely go to a student who needs it through work study, just as the students who work in there now do. As far as the employing more people goes, it is still being planned by Dr. Rowe, and I will let everyone know as soon as it happens. Considering that the library will be open at least 10 more hours a week, open to midnight M-R, to 4 on F, to 6 on Saturday, and to 10 on Sunday, I'm sure that they will need more manpower.
I hope this answers all of your questions.
That answered my questions. Ashley had a follow-up:
Comment to Jeff-
I think that cutting officer pay is a fine decision; I would be more supportive of putting pay into the bylaws so that it is not an arbitrary decision year to year. However, I assume that your Business Manager's spreadsheet exists on the scale that we had this year, which will not be the same amount of money that we will have next year. In your next meetings with Dr. Aloia and Dr. Becker, you may want to find out exactly (which will honestly be a ballpark number) what our budget is for the 2009-2010 year. It would be wonderful if we continue to have $100,000, but I would appreciate you making sure that our budget isn't going to change before you set officer pay in stone. For example, if we only have $50,000 next year, $27,000 for officer pay will not pass the Senate.
Just things to consider... :)
Also, as far as students manning the extra hours, that's awesome! What will be done during finals weeks? Students who work there that do not have early finals will work the late hours? Has Dr. Aloia drafted a plan for this, or is it still in planning stages?
Thanks for all the information, by the way!
Jeff gave a response:
I cannot speak for Business Manager Belcher, who is already doing a fine job, but he mentioned that based on his discussions with administrators, the SGA budget is likely not to see any cuts next year, despite the fact that all of us this year wore worried that we would. As soon as Matt gets that number, either he or I will let everyone know what it is.
As far as what happens during finals week, everything is still in the planning stages at this point. The only thing we do know now is that they will be open longer, unless the President decides to back out. Considering his reputation and considering that he is a man of integrity though, I don't foresee that happening.
We have one final follow-up from Sean Noalnd, former SGA President and current Judicial Advisor:
Jeff, I must strongly disagree with your decision to cut the Prime Justice's pay by $50. Before the new community service plan was passed I would have had no objection. I believe that though the database elements of the PJ's job have been removed, the community service responsibilities are vast and represent a net increase in responsibilities.
I understand that it would seem unfair to cut everyone's pay but the PJ's, but she really never made that much money in the first place. In addition, Michelle has done a fantastic job, so based on both her job responsibilities and her diligence, I disagree with the pay cut. I propose that you leave her pay unchanged through the fall semester and see how much work is involved. If by the end of the semester you feel that her new responsibilities equal a net DECREASE, in responsibilities, then you should consider a pay cut. Until then i believe it is unfair to take this action.
I also would like to point out that your initiative represents the SGA paying for an improvement that the University should be paying for. While it is not unprecedented for the SGA to fund campus improvements, the SGA has traditionally seen this as an undesirable method of getting things done. It is however unprecedented in the respect that the SGA has never given money for improvements in a way that is binding on future SGA's It establishes a precedent that "if the SGA wants it, let them pay for it." If this becomes the mentality of the administration, then eventually the SGA will take on more and more commitments until the budget is significantly and adversely impacted. You really need to safeguard that money. What you are doing is admirable and beneficial, I am just saying be careful about the precedents you set. Especially when those precedents are binding on future SGA's
* * *
So, there's all the comments about that topic on the last blog. There are also a few about Q-sack's plan to get tailgating at baseball games. My roommate, Pat, appears to be in favor of that. Pat & Sean had a pretty big debate on my old blog about Spring Fling and the importance of the SGA. It was pretty cool, if anybody remembers that.
I guess I'll give a couple comments about what all I've seen:
I'm in favor of lowering the pay of the executive board. Jeff gave the per-month salaries in his comment. If you want to use that money for helping out the library, that's cool. No matter what the money is used for, I think it needs to be taken away from the SGA executives. Unless Jeff made a typo, the Vice President is actually getting a pay raise. Considering that's one of the smallest exec salaries, I'm okay with that. The VP does a lot more than the Secretary, that's for sure. Go look at the Secretary pay, then remember all those things I said the Secretary didn't do. Aren't you angry, too?
I'll give a response to Sean's comments:
It basically comes down to the fact that Sean thinks the Prime Justice's duties are worth $200 a month. Jeff thinks that they are only worth $150. I don't think Sean ever was Prime Justice, but he was a regular justice, the Attorney General, the SGA President (all as a student), and the Judicial Advisor (presently, as a graduate & Concord employee). So, Sean definitely knows a bit about the Judicial Branch of the SGA.
With the pay decreases, I'm going to go with a scale. If the President is now worth $400 instead of $450, the Business Manager is now worth $375 instead of $425, and so forth, I can see a reason for the Prime Justice to now not be worth as much. The same presidential duties as before are worth less per month, so I'm okay with everybody else's pay going down.
About Sean's other point - setting a bad precedent of doing things ourselves that the administration should be doing - I had never thought about that. That's something interesting to consider.
Sean points out this could create the thought among the higher-ups of "if the SGA wants it, let them pay for it." That very well could happen and it's something Jeff will need to watch carefully. Perhaps some sort of compromise could be reached on this - can the SGA put up half of the money and President Aloia puts up the other half?
I don't have any tangible solutions to this problem. I don't know if Jeff does. To be honest, I'm not sure how much of a problem it is yet. Perhaps the SGA can fully fund the library endeavor and then push harder for more administrative support in the next endeavor, whatever it may be.
As a kind-of related question, how's that "Campaign for a University Library" thing going? A lot of younger students probably don't know a lot about it, but the Marsh Library is attempting to get a third floor added to the library, in addition to a bunch of other stuff. The SGA of four of five years ago gave the library $80,000 as a donation towards this. The only thing purchased with that money so far was those hunks of shit they call "mountain lion statues" that sit in front of the library. Two years ago, I was told the project would tentatively be complete around 2010 or 2011.
* * *
So, I guess we'll take the debate from the last blog's comments section and continue it over here (if there is even a debate left...). If anybody has an answer to the "Campaign for a University Library" question, please feel free to post it. If anybody has anything else, feel free to include that as well.
Read my last blog for the disclaimer about importing these into Facebook and tagging people. The link is at the top.