Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Last blog's comments & more

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.

24 comments:

  1. Chris I have to maintain my argument that the PJ does not deserve a pay decrease. when you talk about a scale you are talking about an across the board cut for the current duties that people do. The PJ's duties have most certainly increased. That said I would not have supported a pay raise for the PJ if her duties had remained unchanged, but I cannot support a pay cut at the same time as her duties have been increased. I will remind you she was only paid $200 to begin with. Its like saying, "we are gonna give you more work but pay you less" rather than saying "we are going to pay you less for the same amount of work" as is the case for the rest of the execs. Though I disagree, I think that it would be a suitable compromise for this next semester if either the pay is not decreased until the PJ's workload can be assessed. this can be done one of two ways. 1) she will be paid her current rate and at the end of the semester her current rate will be evaluated based on the impact of the community service system that she is now required to administer. 2) give her the cut with the promise that she be considered for a raise at the end of the semester if her duties warrant it. Before this year her main duties were

    1)attend every hearing board meeting
    2)collect data and enter it in a database
    3)run the elections

    now her duties are
    1) attend every hearing board meeting
    2) attend ever community service committee meeting
    3) supervise and administer the entire community service system
    4) place and remove holds on people's accounts
    5) run the elections

    I think this requires more from her than from the AG and Public Defender (both of whom are paid better) Some may say it is not fair to give someone a pass on a pay cut. I say it would be unfair to give her one.

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  2. Sean, since you've explained it a little further, I can see where you're coming from. With the other positions, Jeff could assess them and decide, "For what you're doing, you deserve X instead of Y."

    The question I have is how long have these duties been changed? Has the Prime Justice had a chance to oversee the community service committee, or is this something that came about as a result of the Judicial Reform?

    If the PJ hasn't had a chance to do the new duties yet, then I agree that this position should be looked at differently than the others.

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  3. Just to address a few concerns:

    Based on the discussions I have had with Dr. Aloia so far, he will have enough room in the budget to cover approximately half of this project. Without much worry, we can cover the other half. I understand the concern about getting the SGA into a binding agreement with the administraton, but at least the administration has been fair enough to be willing to work and to compromise with us. Progress cannot be made without compromise. Although it is quite unfortunate that the SGA has to cover some of the bill, it is a service that the SGA brings to all students, not just those from a particular organization, without costing us too much in the process. Considering that I am usually very uptight in my management style, I will be wary about getting the SGA into agreements like this in the future, but this is a compromise that the majority of students will likely applaud us for. If students do not use the increased library hours, then we always do not have to pay out the money in the future as well.

    Before the Prime Justice debate is discussed, I must make it known that it was not my decision alone. The entire E-Board met to discuss this pay, and before lowering everyone's pay, we personally called each person who could not make it (including Michelle Lusk) to see if that particular officer would be fine with it. In her case, she agreed. Chris Matheny also agreed. We still need to discuss Parliamentarian pay in August. Many people did not want to see my pay decreased considering the President's responsibilities, but I also agreed to take a cut more than was proposed. Everyone who took a pay cut did so willingly in order to help all of the students. This is a very unselfish SGA in this way, and I am proud to have officers who are working not only for the money but also for the students. If anyone in the future chooses to argue that lowered pay results in lower officer efficiency, then those people are clearly disregarding the effective, unselfish leaders we have now.

    Secondly, the Executive realizes that many of the old duties of the Prime Justice that constituted the $200 a month are now obsolete, such as keeping a database and being in charge of subpoenas. Although the Community Service plan has been added to the duties, it merely substitutes for duties that the PJ should have been doing in the past that were erased by the Judicial Reform. I am personally trying not to have an opinion on any officer's pay, but considering that she willingly agreed to this proposed decrease, I personally do not see a problem. Eric also was more than happy to accept his pay cut as Secretary; he stated that he thought that job had been paid too well for too long.

    If there are anymore concerns about these issues, please let me know. I will always be more than happy to discuss any of my decisions with anyone in this blog or in person.

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  4. Well, if Michelle is ok with it, then who am I to complain. even though some duties removed and others were added, I still think the magnitude of what was added represents a net gain in responsibilities, but its Michelle's call and not mine. We will just have to see in the Fall.

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  5. Jeff,

    It's great that the administration is picking up half the tab on the library issue. As you mentioned, it is unfortunate that the SGA has to pay any of this, but the current setup is a lot better than the SGA paying for all of it - or worse - not having it all.

    Also, I guess the discussion of whether or not pay should be increased or decreased is now moot, since everybody agreed to the cuts.

    All of the positions should probably be evaluated after the fall semester to see if the new pay scale is working, but for now if they agreed to it, more power to them.

    Just curious - was that a typo you had in the original post, or is the VP getting a pay increase? Did the VP object to a pay cut or was it decided that the VP should get more? Personally, I think the VP salary of $225 is reasonable considering all the VP does. I'd even be for the VP getting paid more, honestly.

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  6. That is not a typo. The Vice President is the only officer getting a pay increase.

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  7. I will point out once again however, that the PJ now has more responsibility than the AG or public defender. This is very clear to me. She has to be at every hearing board meeting, they don't. if there are no cases that go to trial then the AG and PD do little to nothing each week. Michelle is required to monitor the community service system every week. I am not sure that everyone understands how much work this will require. If we have ten cases a week and five of them get community service, she has to put them in the system and assure that they are given all of their paperwork. she then must monitor the deadlines to assure the service is completed by the deadline. She has to add and remove holds and grant extensions where necessary. This is no small task and comes in addition to all of the other duties she is required to perform. I would defy anyone to make a case that she is not required to do more work than the PD and AG do yet they are paid $175 a month more than she is after the pay cut.

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  8. Sean, it seems as though the pay scales have been messed up for a while. I've been very vocal in recent months about the Secretary being overpaid, and I hadn't realized the vast difference between Prime Justice & Chief Justice.

    As you mentioned, the Public Defender and Attorney General get paid a lot more. I guess this is something to look into for all positions, not just for this one position. It's been mentioned a couple times during the SGA meetings by the Advisor that the entire Constitution needs re-written - maybe the entire payscale needs to be re-evaluated.

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  9. Sean, the argument that was made about the Prime Justice's pay was that, according to those who have been members of the Judicial Branch, community service isn't given out very often, so this wouldn't add to her duties much at all. I can't say if it will or won't, simply because I'm not a member of the Judicial Branch. Either way, its not that she DESERVES a pay cut. There are alot of positions that don't. Many felt the Ombudsman didn't deserve one, nor the President. But in order to give more money back to the students, it was necessary.

    With the exception of the VP (who was extremely underpaid to begin with)everyone's pay got cut, whether they deserved it or not. Those at the meeting tried to keep it as even as possible. Four were cut by $50, three my $25...and then those who were overpaid and did deserve a pay cut (ex:the secretary), where cut by more. And Jeff is correct...everyone was called and asked if they were okay with what their pay was being cut to. The only person not called was the VP, but I believe the reasoning was that she was in some kind of meeting, and we didn't think she'd have a problem with the change to her pay.

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  10. That's fine, but the point in changing the community service system is so that it can be utilized more. Indeed, I believe that the hearing board will now use community service as a first resort and not a last resort. You know this because you were on the committee. I understand that Michelle is fine with this and accept that. All I am saying is that there are people who do much less and are paid more than double what she is. I believe that the PJ is more underpaid than the VP and has much more responsibility than the VP, yet the VP got a raise and the PJ got a cut. That does not make sense. Much of this stems from the fact that few people understand how the judicial branch functions. If they did they would see my point. Once again, I would really like to see an argument that the AG and PD do more work than the PJ and if so, is it enough to justify more than double her pay? I think not.

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  11. Now I am not a paid officer of the SGA anymore, and both of my positions (Board of Governors and Representative to the Higher Education Policy Commission’s State Advisory Council of Students) cannot be paid according to the law. As you can see, I have no paycheck to be arguing for, but as a legislator and always a critical of the executive I’ll take the unpopular position but the right one:

    I am 100% opposed to cutting pay across the board just for the purpose of cutting it and I am opposed to cutting it to pay for a service that the institution should be paying for anyway. I find it absurd and ridiculous that the Student Government Association would be forced to (or would even volunteer for that matter) to pick up the cost of keeping a library open during finals. This service is already offered at most other universities and as an institution we must make a commitment to the academic success of our students. In our mission statement, Concord pledges to “provide quality, liberal arts based education” and “to foster scholarly activities.” This mission is not being met when services are not provided by the institution as a whole, but being passed on to a Student Government.

    Cutting pay is a dangerous thing to do. In the first place, as a matter of public policy people should want a full time government. When a full time government cannot be had, there at the very least should be a full time executive branch. Student leaders should be able to put their full focus into academics and student government work and not be expected to work an additional job in order to make ends meet. This sets a very nasty precedent where individuals will only do the very minimum amount of work because they’ll be required to work somewhere else. The counterargument to this might be “well individuals should go above and beyond their duties and work as hard as they can in a job.” I would agree with that, but I would say if that is the case they should be justly compensated for it!

    The cut in officer pay is being justified for a number of very silly reasons. We need not pay for a service our institution should provide us anyway, so I consider that argument moot. But if pressed, one would note we have a $7,000.00 reserve account specifically for projects such as keeping library hours open. I’ve heard “our officers get paid so much more than other SGAs are!” and I say to that be sure to compare apples to apples. Other SGAs do not provide nearly the connection to students that we do, nor do the focus on institutional policy. Bluefield State, Shepherd, WVU..all of these SGAs focus on holding parades and parties, whereas we focus on keeping people in school and making sure police don’t harass you on the way to class. We have thousands of dollars left over every year, so we are in no short supply of funding. Student organizations never use all of the money allotted to them, and simply because we have funding doesn’t mean an organization should receive it. We should have standards for giving money to organizations, and if an organization simply wants to go on a trip to Florida to pat themselves on the back (Cheerleaders of the past) then they should be denied. If you want to save money, I suggest you cut down on other internal spending such as office supplies and equipment costs – that’ll save you more than half as much as the proposed cut is.

    Let us consider the idea that we want the very best possible government we can have. We want the best officers and legislators that we can have so that we are all improved by our collective work. A well paid office is attractive to intelligent, hard working people who would otherwise go off and work somewhere else. A low paid office is still attractive to idiots and lazy people who just want to do as little as possible to make a buck off the SGA. You will not attract the type of people you want to serve you if you pay them poorly. Cutting pay is a slippery slope unfortunately, because as soon as you start to cut it it’ll never stop. Eventually officers will be expected to work for free, and then you’ve arrived at Bluefield State.
    Finally, let us consider math. Proponents of slashing executive pay say “but look! We’ve saved money!” I think this argument is easily rebutted by all of the things I have pointed out (we don’t need to save money, we would only harm ourselves, we have extra money, etc.), but if it isn’t good enough of a sell then consider basic pay. Imagine even a so-so SGA officer is in the office 2 hours a day.

    2 hours X 5 days a week = 10 hours.
    10 hours X 4 weeks = 40 hours.
    40 hours X $7.25 (WV Minimum Wage) = $290.00

    This lousy paycheck would be MORE than the proposed pay for the Vice President, Prime Justice and Secretary. Indeed, it’s only slightly less than the proposed pay for the majority of the rest of the officers!

    Let us consider an officer that works much more in the SGA than many, and wants it to be their full time job. Perhaps they are in the office 4 hours a day working on various projects.

    4 hours X 5 days a week = 20 hours.
    20 hours X 4 weeks = 80 hours.
    80 hours X $7.25 (WV Minimum Wage) = $580.00

    Not even the President makes this amount
    currently. This shows us that officers who are very active are underpaid, and officers who are lazy are overpaid. You’ll have this in any job and it’s an unfortunate fact of employment. The risks of paying the lazy too much are far lower than the risks of paying the active too little.

    In summary, I’ve not been told a single argument that would lead me to support slashing executive pay so haphazardly. I’ve not heard any arguments that successful rebut my points (and I’ve articulated them for years) and I’m not convinced that we should set down a path that will only make us less able to fight off administrators and faculty. I hate to be critical of an administration that is so young, but as a legislator that is my task. So far, Business Manager Belcher and the Yeager Administration have been narrow minded and short sighted. The eagerness to cut executive pay highlights the meager financial platform some executives ran on, and the unwillingness of others to make difficult long term decisions. We need leaders and not panderers and that is exactly what I think the Yeager Administration is filled with.

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  12. *panderers that is, in case there was any confusion.

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  13. Curtis,

    I don't necessarily disagree with you in your points. I think I'm taking a "glass half full" approach while you have a "glass half empty" outlook on the matter.

    As a non-paid member of the senate, I'd like to compliment you for being BOG rep. It is probably one of the hardest-working positions, with no pay. I'd like to thank you for taking on this enormous workload while not seeing any monetary compensation for it.

    I agree with you about the library. The students shouldn't have to pay for it. Most universities offer this for students out of their own budgets. I don't agree with it, and neither does President Yeager, as he left this in an earlier comment here:

    "Progress cannot be made without compromise. Although it is quite unfortunate that the SGA has to cover some of the bill, it is a service that the SGA brings to all students, not just those from a particular organization, without costing us too much in the process."

    Jeff initially said this would cost in the neighborhood of $1500 and then later said that Aloia would be willing to pay half. I'm not sure if the student's $1500 is half of the total cost or if Aloia is picking up half of the $1500 tab. Jeff, if you want to elaborate on that, feel free.

    The point Jeff made is compromise. If the administration is not going to pay for it and we don't want to pay for it all ourselves, then a compromise needs to be reached.

    I don't agree with paying with SGA money to keep the library open later. You don't agree with it. Jeff doesn't agree with it. But, we have to do it or the library won't be kept open later.

    About the paycuts you brought up - yeah, if you go by minimum wage standards, all of the students should be paid more. But, that would probably take up a sizeable chunk of the budget.

    Most of the officer cuts aren't really that big. President got cut $50, Business Manager got cut $50, Ombudsman got cut $25, Attorney General got cut $25, Public Defender got cut $25, Prime Justice got cut $25. In the larger cuts, the Secretary got cut $125 and Chief Justice got cut $100. The Parliamentarian went from $50 a month to a non-paid position, but I believe this academic year was the first to have that position paid. The only increase was a $25 increase for the Vice President.

    I don't think those are severe. Some of them are well-deserved. Do you really think Norma Acord deserved $350 a month for the job she did? Did she deserve $350 a month to have you, Jeff, Will, and Wes stand around during the meeting discussing who was going to go make copies (i.e., do her job)?

    If these students are just in the job for the money, then it's best we get them out of these jobs. So far, it looks like none of them are - as Jeff and Ashley Green on here have both confirmed that all students holding those positions agreed to take the cuts.

    About the $7000 fund - I think it's great that the SGA has that. That's some sort of "special project" fund and should be used for something special. Maybe a concert, or extra funding for Homecoming, a plaque for the gazebo, a tuition rally (if there is one), extra funding for Spring Fling, etc...

    I guess my feeling is that I think the pay should go down, no matter what the extra money is used for. Even if the library weren't an issue, I would still be saying that the Secretary and Business Manager and Chief Justice, etc... were all overpaid.

    To conlude, I don't agree with the library being paid for with student money. But, if that's the only option we have, then I'm in favor of that compromise. President Emeritus Prince brought up students complaining about the library hours almost weekly in his report, so this is clearly something the students want. The means to get it isn't perfect, but it's better than nothing.

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  14. Chris,

    I am not at all convinced that this is something we have to compromise on. I am confident that we can require the library to remain open and have the university pick up the entire cost of the venture. I think that can be done in this University Budget Committee, but if it can not I will bring the issue to the Board of Governors along with my proposal to require all university offices to be open from 8 to 4 with staggered lunches so that students don't have to ever wait for offices to reopen.

    I understand the argument entirely that if its the only way we can get the library open then we will need to pay for it. I think that will send us down a path of 50/50 everything when it comes to services to students. We CANNOT allow the university to "pass the buck" on to the SGA when it comes to funding projects. They raised our tuition more than 8% this year, and they gained more than $250,000 from doing that. The Governor intends to give back money to the institutions according to the HEPC. They CAN afford to pay for it, and I intend to do whatever is required to make sure that happens.

    In terms of pay, I agree with you that some people have not always carried their weight when it comes to work. I asked the Student Supreme Hearing Board to give me the power to dock officer pay should executives fail to meet their duties and they refused. I have a fear that by cutting pay we'll send a nasty message to people that working for students is a now and then type of job. It isn't the individual that we should be concerned about, its the office itself. We can correct individual behavior, or remove the individual from their post if there are problems.

    If cutting pay is simply an ideological position, I can respect that. I simply disagree with doing it because our officers should be well paid, work full time for the SGA and be successful. The way to accomplish that is not to cut pay, but to raise standards and expectations. Pay doesn't mean anything to me and it never really has. Was it nice to recieve a $425.00 check? Very. But I left that office the first time and took a $225.00 pay CUT per month just so I could do the work of Vice President because I enjoyed it. I'm doing BOG work not because of its wonderful pay package but because I enjoy the work and it brings me joy to make sure people at the university are kept on their toes. I never want to see an individual collecting a 225 paycheck and doing only their official duties when we could pay them 350 and they be able to work entirely for us and go above and beyond.

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  15. chris,
    The PJ got a $50 cut not $25. That is a 25% cut to someone who has done her job better than many of her predecessors. No one has yet provided me with a sound reason she is paid worse than the VP, PD, and AG. I would love to hear one.

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  16. To begin, I want to state that I spoke with Business Manager Belcher earlier today, and we will re-evaluate this tentative plan for pay before we get back to school. As Sean points out, this pay scale is not perfect, so we need to reevaluate some of the positions accordingly.

    Secondly, cutting officer pay is not simply about paying for the library. That's an added benefit of it. It also allows us more money to give to organizations. My administration plans to tighten down on all areas, and I'm sure that if you would speak to Secretary Lopez Curtis, you will find that he will be more than willing to shave money on officer supplies.

    I also think that your argument about officer pay lowering the efficiency of our leaders is moot. I think that many people would see you as being an effective leader on this campus, and you are making $0 in the upcoming year. The money obviously did not attract you to your position. All of the leaders in the Executive and Judicial have also agreed to taking pay cuts--and it was a unanimous decision at that. I would also challenge anyone to say that these people are not effective leaders. What the SGA needs are leaders who will be less focused on getting a beefy paycheck and rather leaders who will be more than willing to work for less. Every dollar that goes to executive pay is a dollar that the Budgetary Committee doesn't have to worry about shaving when it comes time to fund various projects. I would go so far to say that one of the biggest problems of this year's administration has been that many of our executives have simply stood by, collected their pay, and called it a day, with the exception of a various few. It should be considered a good thing that, for at least this year, my team is willing to accept less for the same work.

    As far as the library goes, I certainly hope that you can find a way for the University to fund this project entirely; however, I realize that the SGA stomping its foot and demanding for something to be done is far less realistic than reaching a compromise. Things do not work this way in the real world, and it takes a collective bargaign to reach progress. Considering that the SGA has done this very thing the past few years, it's no wonder that little has been accomplished. However, if you can convince the University to pay for the extended hours with the increased funds, I will be more than happy to see that. It will still not stop the imminent pay cuts, which we can undoubtedly use for other purposes. Considering that Aloia is already promising to pay half of the costs for the library extension (to answer the ambiguity), I am happy that this administration is taking a philosophy of compromise rather than the traditional foot stomping philosophy of the past. Although throwing a fit sometimes works, one must realize that these people are in the game to make money, and they are not our parents.

    With all of this in mind, I will be interested to see what happens. The pay will be revaluated, but I invite the Board of Governors Rep to speak with the President about library hours, or perhaps the Board, to see if the University can in fact fund it entirely. Based on discussions I have already had, I doubt that this is a realistic scenario, but I invite you to do so.

    As far as being a leader and not a panderer, I hope that the students will see that my administration is not narrow-minded in the sense of only looking for a paycheck. I feel that if we were truly narrow-minded, we would not be looking at this issue at all. My administration is going to be one of progression at this university rather than the same ineffective tactics of administrations in the past, and together, as a team, we will truly do our best to fix things.

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  17. Jeff, I fear you may be confusing compromise with acquiescence.

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  18. Sean,

    That is my luck - the one position people are actually discussing here when it comes to pay would be the only one I would get incorrect.

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  19. Chris,I hope you realize I wasn't trying to be a jerk or anything. I only pointed it out because it was so germaine. Hard to emote in a comment.

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  20. I know. I just thought it was kind of funny that the PJ pay would be the one that I get wrong, considering it's the only one anybody has really brought up.

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  21. I've tried to retain my impartiality in this "pay" debate, but I feel I need to make a few quick points.

    1.) Higher pay doesn't attract better people. In fact, by offering higher pay you're probably just attracting people who have no real leadership ability or strong to desire to serve, but rather people who are rational enough to recognize that they can make more as an SGA executive than at some other occupation. You will attract people who are just willing to trade their paycheck for a bigger paycheck.

    2.) The cuts we've made should in no way effect performance. Primarily because our pay isn't performance based, plenty of people do a shitty job and get paid quite well. Pay, performance, and talent are not significantly correlated in this situation. Moreover, the cuts made are individually marginal, and wholly substantial. I personally received a $25 cut per month, which I agreed to, and I don't really see how, even if I was upset about it, I lost $25 worth of my potential or Attorney General ability.

    3.) This is not a slippery slope. People are rational. It's absurd to think that one administration is going to try to out do the former at pay cuts...the law of diminishing returns applies here. The value of the first cuts to the government is worth something, in principle, and in, well, dollars. But after that each cut becomes less and less valuable, and the idea of a cut in itself eventually begins to bear a cost. It's not a race to the bottom, that would be irrational.

    4.) If you're doing this job for the paycheck, then you are in the wrong line of work. It is my duty as a citizen of humanity to serve my fellow man. A paycheck is a nice "thank you", but at the end of the day I derive more utility from knowing that I made someone's life better than I ever would from a paycheck, and that's a quality embedded in this administration, as it is in nearly every effective leader.

    Both professionally and personally I support the idea of cutting pay. The intervals by which we have agreed to are debateable (like the PJ's) but the concept as a whole is a sound and worthy initiative.

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  22. I'll use this time to respond to a variety of things both Jeff and Bill have said.

    In the first place, student organizations have plenty of money to apply for. As I have already stated, a large number of organizations apply for funding and do not use the funding they recieve. I'm not sure why we would want to offer even more money for organizations who will not use it, and then ask the senate to spend it buying park benches and gazebos after excess money builds up over time. We shouldn't have a standard that all organizations have their funding requests approved simply because they ask for it. We should have standards of use and benefit for the campus, and lowering standards doesn't really help anyone.

    There is no added long term benefit if the SGA pays for the library. While it may serve some students in the short term, it'll undermine the entire position the SGA has held for years: student services should be paid by the university. Students should not be asked to pay out more and more tuition dollars every year and then go to the table and haggle for services. The idea that the SGA should pay for services the university should already be providing is absurd. Only a bad student government would stand by and allow tuition to be raised without benefits, and then split the cost of providing services from their own budget. The very idea that an SGA would head down the road of splitting the cost of services with administration is shocking, and will without a doubt leave us in a much worse position than before. If you give a mouse a cookie, he'll want a glass of milk to go with it. By that same token, if you give Dr. Aloia 50% of the cost of a program, next year he'll want to split the cost of something else. Don't be so easily fooled.

    I again find it shocking that people are so quick to say things aren't realistic or reasonable. It is entirely realistic that we have a lot of new things - more faculty, better dorms, increased cafe hours, state of the art ID cards..but when we so easily concede our positions we'll never obtain them. Some SGA officials may have the ability to say "well, its not my problem. Let's just do what they say." As a Board member, i'll not have that luxury. I've been charged with not only attempting to improve the entire campus, but attempting to improve the condition of every campus in the state via the HEPC. I intend to stick to my guns on all of these issues because someone certainly needs to do it.

    I'll also defend administrations in the past, they all too often get a bad wrap from incoming Presidents. I will not defend many of the decisions that President Prince made, or many of the actions of his cabinet members. President's Cook, Tice and Noland however did wonders to improve Concord University and the respect, power and influence the Student Government Association has. I can tell you for certain that every single project or plan President Cook made, her administration either accomplished or got the ball rolling. It is because of people like her we have an emergency alert system of any kind, internet access to all computers in our library, alcohol restored to homecoming, a form of student portal on our website and countless other benefits to students. President Noland took an SGA nearly brought to its knees by the scandal of a suspended President and took the administration to task over issues that impacted the lives of every Concordian. President Tice and his cabinet are the very reason we even have a full time Dean of Students and Vice President. So you'll excuse me when I'm taken aback when our new SGA administration starts undermining our position on day one.

    Jeff, I work for free because the state requires it. Would I work for free? Yes, and I have done so many times. Would I take a pay cut? Yes, and I've taken them before. I work because I gives me great pleasure to see administrators fail and students to succeed. It futher gives me pleasure to see Concord be the best institution it can be because I love it and it has given a lot to me. Consider this: some of the very same people supporting this "slash the pay!" campaign either fought for pay they didn't get, or said they should be paid for the work they are doing. Now isn't that something?

    Responding to Bill's points, I'm afraid Dr. White has filled you with too many equations and "laws" and you've missed the theory and application.

    1) Higher pay DOES indeed attract better employees. People leave jobs all the time for higher paying ones, and these include justices, government workers, civil servants and professors. As I have stated more than once, any pay at all will attract stupid people. They will be lazy no matter what they are paid, and will collect any paycheck you decide to give them without putting anything into their job. Intelligent, hard working people need to pay the bills and will work as many jobs as required in order to do that. As a point of public policy, we want a full time government. I want an SGA President who doesn't have to leave his/her office early in order to make it to his/her starbucks shift. I want a Chief Justice who doesn't have to stop fighting for photographic evidence in order to work in the alumni office. Its entirely nonsensical to think that pay has no impact on quality employees and their decision to stay in or leave a job.

    2) You're right when you say $25 bucks doesn't seem like a lot of money to lose, and I am happy you're personally OK with it. But it isn't Bill Lewis we're concerned about, we're concerned about the Attorney Generals and Vice Presidents and Secretaries of the future. We want to be able to pull future leaders in every year and we need good pay in order to do that. The turnover rate for SGA officials is very high, and we've got to offer every benefit possible to attract quality leaders. If we want to base every decision on each individual and their need for pay, then we should factor in the thousands of dollars of check change some people get. Maybe they should work for free?

    3) You've assumed that people won't want the political bonus points of carrying on projects started by former administrations. A candidate a year from now might say Yeager's administration cut pay but didn't finish the job. Perhaps they'll run the very anti "country club" campaign that Jeff ran and propose cutting pay all together? You assume all people are rational. Consider when Senator Blankenship said our work was foolish and would be accomplished whether or not there was an SGA at all. That's entirely irrational. Many things the SGA Senate does are completely irrational, so I wouldn't be so quick to give them the credit.

    4) Its absurd to think if people work for the SGA for the money they should leave. I don't care why people work for us, so long as they do and are good at it. I'd much rather Jane Doe work for her paycheck and do a damn good job for students than someone else work out of a personal need and be terrible. The "people have a duty to their fellow man" nonsense doesn't get you very far when it comes to actual results. People have a duty to graduate from Concord, and the vast majority of them see no duty other than that. Only our employees or those filled with a sense of purpose have a duty to their fellow students. I suggest we make sure we're in no short supply of quality workers regardless of their motives.

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  23. Very interesting points overall, from everybody. I like this.

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