Khan weighs in on statute violations
Student body president Omar Khan answered questions about his terms for possible impeachment for the first time before his investigation committee Sunday.
Khan said the charges brought against he and vice president Ryan Morris were a stretch.
Bishop Taylor, former marketing director of SG, wrote a grievance letter that stating that Khan and Morris violated 11 SG statutes. The statutes vary from ill will to the wrongdoing in hiring and firing practices with regard to SG cabinet members.
“I’m surprised that Bishop, who worked with my campaign and worked so closely, would say I was incompetent,” Khan said. “I would be able to come up with a lot more reasons for someone I work closely with.”
Taylor, who was terminated Sept. 8, arranged the investigation for the impeachment because he wanted to ensure he was not held responsible for the actions Khan and Morris took when hiring new cabinet members. In addition, Taylor said, he wanted to be sure the students were fully represented in SG.
However, Khan said he felt that he and Morris were unbiased when hiring their cabinet members.
“I wanted to make sure the most talented and qualified people for the job (were hired) and wanted to make the positions open to all people,” Khan said.
One of the charges alleges that Khan and Morris did not establish a cabinet in a timely manner.
On Sept. 21, Taylor told the committee that Khan refrained from hiring anyone for the position of chief of staff in the cabinet, one of the positions mandatory by SG statutes.
Khan, who took office May 5, said there was a three-week delay because of the SG elections. Khan added that due to the runoff, trial and mistrial during the election, the advertisements for the cabinet members were two weeks behind.
“It was already summer when the advertisements began to run,” Khan said.
Khan and Morris are being questioned on the reasons for hiring an interim chief of staff, Nori Cruz, after she was denied confirmation in the summer for the chief of staff position. In addition, Taylor cites that they did not properly advertise the openings for chief of staff after Cruz was denied confirmation. Taylor also alleges that Morris and Khan did not properly advertise for the director of executive affairs and director of student lobbying, two other statutory mandatory positions.
Taylor said Michael Capobianco already filled the director of executive affairs when the position was advertised as open.
“We wanted to get as many people involved with SG as possible,” Khan said. “I was surprised to hear that was one of the violations that Ryan and I are being tried on.”
Khan added that he asked the SG attorney general, Jarrod Ali, and other SG members if they had to re-advertise the positions.
“They told me that we didn’t have to because the position was never vacated – just not filled when Cruz was not confirmed,” Khan said. “I wanted to re-advertise, though, and I told Ryan that I wanted to take people for all positions when we re-advertised.”
After the first advertisements were printed in The Oracle at the beginning of the summer, Khan said he received about 47 applicants. He added that not re-advertising immediately for the cabinet positions was not unethical.
“My personal feeling was that it was ethical,” he said. “It didn’t bother me because we had already advertised for the student body.”
Khan added that the SG business office informed him that if someone was thinking about resigning from a position, then he could advertise for that position, according to Capobianco.
“Michael told Ryan that he was going to resign,” Khan said. “The procedure I was told was that if you think someone was possibly going to resign, you can still advertise – just like in any job.”
However, when SG did eventually re-advertise, Khan said they only received a few new applicants and had eventually gone back to the pool of 47 applicants to consider.
Khan said by re-advertising, he doesn’t feel that the students would be confused or disadvantaged for advertising jobs that weren’t yet vacant.
In addition, Khan said the cabinet is part of Morris’ job.
“Ryan is in charge of the cabinet and Ryan is accountable to me,” Khan said. “And if Ryan is at fault, that is his fault, and I will have to reprimand him.”
Khan said both he and Morris have certain job duties and that he has to stay within his scope of the student body president’s duties. He added that because he was new to SG he might not have been aware of certain procedures or customs specific to cabinet or SG.
“I’m new to SG, and as far as certain customs, no, I wasn’t aware,” he said.
Both investigation committees will be presenting their recommendations to the SG senate Tuesday night. They will recommend whether or not the violations are valid for impeachment.
The senate meeting begins at 8 p.m. in the Phyllis P. Marshall Center in room 271.