Payment of SGA Officials

I have to say that I am more than a little concerned about what was printed in last week’s(4/25) issue of the Commonwelath Times. Specifically, I find what the current SGA President said regarding how the officers should be compensated alarming. I do not have the issue in front of me so that I can directly quote from it, however I have read the article several times and feel as though I have a firm grasp of the material. To sum up what was said, it has been suggested that the SGA officers should recieve more than the $15000/year that they get out of our activity fee portion of tuition. This $15000 pays the officers an hourly wage for somewhere between 100-200 hours worth of work yearly that the officers perform and get paid for(even though some do work many more hours than they get paid for). Instead, he states that they should have 4 people’s housing, 1 person’s meal plan, and 21 officer’s parking passes paid for by the students raising the current budget of $15k to $25k. When I read this article repeatedly, I came up with the same conclusion each time…and that was that this is not right. The president claims that if the SGA is to be taken seriously and is to encourage people to consider it as their job, that they need to be compensated accordingly. Fair Enough. Never let it be said that I am opposed to paying someone for a job well done, and after knowing several SGA officers, I know that they work many hours more than they’re paid for…but my response to these plans comes in two parts:

1. Show us results first, then you can lobby for increasing the ‘payments’ you recieve. I for one am thouroughly against paying for your housing, meals, and parking of all things until I see results. The current SGA elections were filled with promises (ie parking, library hours, and budget changes) all in the favor of the students. Were those budget changes (ie. ‘cutting of overfunded and underused programs and spending the money more efficiently and effectively’ as one candidate told me) another way of saying ‘lets take the excess money from one area and put more money into the SGA’?? I hope not. Prove me wrong, Please! If you can come though on your campaign promises, than you should be rewarded, but to say that doubling the budget is the first step seems a little unreasonable. You signed up for this position and made promises to gain our trust…you have a responsibilty to uphold the those promises and trust that we will reward you for accomplishing the goals you have set.

2. Why do you specifically need 21 parking passes, 4 housing plans, and 1 meal plan? And who would get those things? …4 housing plans, do those go to the top four officers? Is it off or on-campus housing? I would only be in favor of paying for on-campus housing…if you want to live off campus, that is your responsibility to pay for. Don’t you think you might be sending the wrong message by granting these things to your officers? I would love to have a free place to live, a meal plan, not have to worry about parking, and still get my hourly wage!!! SGA should not be a ‘incidentals scholarship’ for those who participate.

While trying to decide on who I would vote for a few weeks ago I heard stories about of one the candidates for this semester’s SGA elections who basically did nothing during his current term (I won’t mention names or titles) and tried to ride the coat-tails of those officials who actually did their jobs…that gives all SGA members a huge hurdle to overcome in my mind. How do I know that I would not be supporting someone like this?

I have to work a job outside of the campus to make enough money to survive (not extravagantly either) and you want a portion of the money that I am going in debt up to my eyeballs for to go for your parking, meals, and housing??? Without seeing results, it seems selfish to ask for these things.

Further, why are these incentives the best use of the money? Some people will be getting less than others which seems unfair to me. Why not just use the $ to increase the hourly wage for the officers so everyone can get an equal piece of the pie?

The final point I want to make is that you gain much more than the $/parking/housing rewards that you are asking for by participating in the SGA…namely you get to represesnt the students of the University, gain valuable real world experience in dealing with different factions of the school and community, and you gain an unbelievable booster for your resume’ and applications to med school, law school, etc etc etc. Lets not fool ourselves…being an SGA officer is a huge plus when applying different schools. Of course you want to help improve the school and speak for the students…I am not saying that the officers would only get into SGA just for the purposes of getting into the school of their choice, I do genuinely believe that they want to perform their duties and serve the students, however lets be honest and cut to the chase…you knew that were these types of incentives for going into the SGA, so consider that a payment/investment/reward made to you on behalf of the students who chose you to represent them. If that is not enough, come through with your campaign promises and let the students who elected you decide how to reward you.

Michael Kelleher

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