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Sunday, September 23, 2018

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Changes to SGA cabinet cause uproar in new administration


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During the organization’s Wednesday meeting, Student Government Association President Shane Smith restructured his cabinet to adhere to his vision and goals but faced an uproar of discussion regarding allocation of budget for the change in paid positions.

Smith added a director of research, a paid position. Smith said he found it necessary to back up bills presented by senators with viable data based off other universities’ performances and adjusted to UH’s audience.

The funding for the position was extracted from the pay that would have been allocated for a director of marketing. Smith said it was redundant to have two people in the position of public relations, and as a result, he stripped the funding of this position, making it an unpaid position, as it was in the 51st administration.

Accounting and finance sophomore Dean Suchy was appointed and confirmed as director of research.

“My goals would help complete the executive actions as well as the legislative actions through research, not only on our University’s data but also other universities’ data to make sure all of these initiatives are backed by actual evidence,” Suchy said.

In contrast to the 52nd administration, Smith and chief of staff Andrew Bahlmann felt the heavy workload of the president and chief of staff would be relieved with a deputy chief of staff position to work directly under the president, chief of staff and vice president.

A handful of senators spoke out about this position in how it seemed redundant more so than the Director of Marketing position in relation to the Director of Public Relations position.

“In terms of our budget system, why is this not redundant in our budget but the marketing position is?” Bauer College of Business Senator Chris Gervasio said.

Bahlmann responded with referencing the workload that burdened the previous administration’s Chief of Staff Adrian Castillo.

“I don’t know how many of you knew Adrian but the idea that this job is simple,” Bahlmann said. “I don’t know how many of you guys knew how late he stayed here at night and how long he worked on his weekend.”

Ultimately, Bahlmann reminded the senate that the president has sole discretion in deciding what cabinet positions he specifically needs to perform his duties.

Political science freshman Winni Zhang was appointed and confirmed for the position of deputy chief of staff. Her term will focus on expanding Greek life in partnership with Vice President Rohini Sethi and increasing student-to-senator transparency.

In addition to these changes in paid positions, Smith added two unpaid executive branch positions: senior adviser to the president and senior adviser to the president for student engagement.

For the vacancy of senior adviser to the president, management information systems junior Robert Comer was appointed and confirmed. And for the vacancy of senior adviser to the president for student engagement, chemistry sophomore Edwin Mascorro was appointed and confirmed.

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