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Wednesday, December 6, 2023


Staff Council elections begin

Correction: In the article "Staff Council elections begin" (Tuesday, News), Staff Council was incorrectly described. Staff Council serves as an advisory body of staff members to University administration. Twenty-six candidates are running for the twenty-two positions available in the elections. Nineteen are open positions of 3-year term and three replacement positions of 1 or 2 year term.

Eligible voters can cast their votes starting at 6 a.m. today, as members from each segment of the staff body vie for open positions in UH’s Staff Council.

Equivalent to the Student Government Association for faculty and staff, Staff Council is an advisory body to the University administration. Created in 1986 to promote communication among staff members in University decisions that affect them, it provides an arena for interchange among staff, faculty and students.

"Staff Council is paramount in helping the staff achieve equal rights," said returning candidate and Graduate College of Social Work office assistant Letecia Henry, who is running for a seat in the division of Academic Affairs.

Staff Council members are expected to attend monthly meetings on the first Thursday of every month; commit three to five hours per month on Council business and activities; be active in two or more committees or subcommittees; convey communication from Staff Council meetings to the staff within the segment is represented; interact with staff to make sure that issues; concerns and ideas are brought to the appropriate administrator for action; and participate in staff and campus events.

"It’s my responsibility to listen to concerns, provide those concerns to staff council and report back what goes on at Staff Council to the people that I represent," said Carol Barr, English department business administrator and one of 12 candidates running for the seven open positions in the division of Academic Affairs.

The seven divisions for Staff Council are comprised of At-Large, Academic Affairs, Administration and Finance, Office of the President, Research and Academic Property Management, Student Affairs, and University Advancement, with 38 total open and replacement positions available.

Office of International Studies Programs adviser Maria Saldana and School of Communication academic adviser Esther Stokes will run to fill the vacancy of one of three At-Large seats.

Saldana, who has been on Staff Council since 2005, has also served on the Staff Affairs Committee, the Staff Council Scholarship Committee and Cougar First Impressions and assists on the University System Staff Executive Council, as well as the Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee.

Stokes is a strong advocate of quality customer service and has been influential in making and updating the student handbook for the graduate program.

The Division of Academic Affairs has seven open offices of respective 3-year terms and two replacement offices of 1 or 2-year terms. For this division, twelve candidates are running for this segment, including Barr, Enterprise Systems application developer Khalid Bhatti, Information Technology assistant business administrator Rowena Castro and Child Welfare Education Project Director Joe Papick.

The division of Administration and Finance has six candidates running for the five open seats, including Office of Institutional Research Director Susan Moreno, Physical Plant carpenter David Page and Director of Business Services Esmeralda Valdez.

Moreno has worked at the University for five years and has taken an active role as an employee both in her work and by participating in Staff Council events such as Cougar First Impressions and the annual Sock and Blanket drive.

The Office of the President has two open positions of 3-year terms and there are no replacement positions available. The two candidates running for this office are Anna Barron, Office of Affirmation officer, and Leslie Pruski, the executive administrative assistant for the vice chancellor and vice president for Legal Affairs.

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Wednesday online at, and from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. today in Charles F. McElhinney Hall, Room 325 and Ezekiel W. Cullen Building, first floor lobby.

To vote, staff members must be eligible for benefits, know their employee ID number, which can be found on their UH pay stub, and cast their votes for no more than the number of open positions available for their respective division and for two At-Large candidates.

For a complete list of candidates and voting guidelines and locations, visit

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