By Scott Strasser, March 29 2017 —
Incoming Students’ Union faculty representatives can breathe a sigh of relief after their monthly bonuses were taken off the chopping block.
At Students’ Legislative Council on March 28, a resolution to repeal faculty representatives’ $50 monthly bonuses failed in an 8–6 vote, with four abstentions due to conflict of interest. The resolution required a two-thirds supermajority to be approved.
The SU’s Policy Development and Review Committee (PDRC) had initially brought the proposal forward to SLC as a discussion item on March 7. The proposal was brought back as a resolution item on March 28, where it was debated for roughly 30 minutes before the vote.
Currently, each faculty representative provides a monthly report and the five SU executives review their performance at the end of each month. If faculty representatives made progress regarding their personal goals, they can be awarded an additional $50 on top of their $350 monthly honorarium.
PDRC’s argument for repealing the bonuses was that alternative options brought forward by SLC members on March 7 — increasing the honorarium and scrapping the bonus, changing it to a semester-based bonus instead of monthly or maintaining the status quo — were not ideal.
“PDRC [has] examined numerous solutions and determined that most options pose risks to the efficacy and reputation of SLC,” reads the proposal document submitted to council by PDRC.
Cumming School of Medicine representative Sam Sirianni — who sits on PDRC and was one of the proposal’s proponents — said the current bonus structure creates a hierarchy between SU executives and faculty representatives.
“Obviously there are no consistency measures between the executives in how they grade our reports,” Sirianni said during the discussion. “It’s too subjective [and] there’s nobody holding the executives accountable to whether or not [faculty representatives] should get bonuses.”
Council members were highly split on the proposal. The most outspoken opponents were education representative Carson Reveen and law representative Mark Shearer.
Reveen outlined multiple reasons for his opposition in a three-minute address. He said he felt PDRC rushed the proposal in order to fit it onto SLC’s agenda before the end of the semester.
“Our successors shouldn’t suffer because we passed an incomplete document,” Reveen said before voting took place. “I oppose this due to the spirit of bonuses. This is not part of my salary, this is not a raise — this is a bonus.”
Shearer compared repealing the monthly bonuses to a 15 per cent pay cut. He said the pay is probably one of the only reasons why some faculty representative positions are not vacant.
“In searching out a new law rep, the pay was the only thing that really came close to enticing people to run for the position,” Shearer said. “It should not be hard [for executives] to decide whether or not a bonus should be granted. I think all that needs to happen is that executives feel more comfortable denying bonuses if they feel fit.”
Because the vote did not pass, no changes will be made and next year’s faculty representatives will continue to be eligible to receive $50 monthly bonuses.