UH employees will have their last chance today to vote in the Staff Council elections.
The Staff Council is an advisory body, made up of staff members, elected to the office of the president. Inside the group exist different committees that specialize in specific aspects of the University including communications, events, and membership and elections.
Current Staff Council President Elsie Myers will be replaced next year by President-Elect Ron Gonyea. She says the Staff Council is important in connecting different departments to one another.
“Staff Council serves as an advisory body to the University of Houston administration to promote a positive and meaningful interchange among staff, faculty, and students. Also to promote recognition of staff contributions to the mission of the University and involve staff in decisions affecting their activities,” Myers said.
The upcoming election will provide a slew of new members to the board.
“There are several positions available in this upcoming election. The representative divisions and vacant positions are one for At Large, five for Academic Affairs, three for Administration & Finance, one for Research and one for Student Affairs,” Myers said.
Myers said that the main issue for her this year is staff morale. A new system called “Cougar Cudos” was put in place to fix this issue. Staff are able to nominate one another when they feel that their coworkers are deserving of public recognition.
However, for this voting cycle, Gonyea is concerned largely about the underrepresentation of certain segments of the staff. The changes he wishes to put in will not be implemented this year.
“We want to change to a district model which will allow people from all segments to vote from their areas. Some divisions are too large and not everyone in that division gets the same amount of representation,” Gonyea said.
“We want to do away with paper and switch to online voting but that makes it harder for custodians and maintenance to vote as they do not have an office with a computer.
Despite this, Gonyea feels positively about the upcoming election and the Staff Council generally.
“People who are actively serving, they gain a greater understanding of running a university from the ground up,” Gonyea said. “I might make a decision and someone from (an) area might say there is an issue and I have to go, ‘Oh that makes sense. X, Y and Z were bad because I didn’t understand.’”
Visit www.uh.edu/staff-council/ for more information.