The Student Government (SG) senate committee that’s investigating impeachment charges against Attorney General Cordell Chavis is postponing its decision.
At its Monday meeting, the committee said it’s undecided on whether to move forward with the impeachment or stop the investigation because of vagueness in the memo of impeachment.
The committee decided that the charges in the memo of impeachment filed by former SG presidential candidate Christopher Leddy and former senator Richard Shockley were not clear enough to make a decision.
SG adviser Gary Manka said “there was a lot of gray” in the impeachment memo that was submitted, and committee member and SG senator Jeremy Burns said the charges were “not very clear.”
Before the committee makes a decision on whether or not to move forward with the investigation, it needs to have an interview with Leddy and Shockley to clarify the impeachment charges, said committee chair and SG senator Alicia Stott.
“This is strictly clarification of the memo, this is not to determine where both sides stand,” she said. “This is strictly concerning the black and white of the memo.”
According to SG statutes, if any student or SG entity wishes to bring up an impeachment investigation, they have to “submit a memo detailing the alleged offenses to the senate president pro tempore.”
In Leddy’s memo, he requested the impeachment of Chavis on the grounds of “incompetence and malfeasance.”
Committee member and SG senator Kelly Budnick said it is “way too early to decide” whether or not to move forward with the impeachment, because the charges of “incompetence” and “malfeasance” are not specified.
According to SG statutes, malfeasance is defined as the “commission of a wrongful or unlawful act involving or affecting the performance of one’s duties.”
Committee members said they need more evidence to decide what portion of the memo is opinion and what is fact. They also want to ask for specifics from Leddy in regards to his reference to SG statutes.
“There’s no concrete statement, we need a specific concrete statement to tie it back to in the memo,” Budnick said.
The committee plans to meet with Leddy and Shockley on Friday. The charges were brought forth at
the Sept. 22 senate meeting.
“Mr. Chavis issued a rather confident opinion in blatant disregard to the constitution and statutes of USF’s Student Government,” Leddy said in the memo of impeachment. “This ‘legal opinion’ recklessly led to senate’s passing of (the resolution).”
Leddy accused Chavis of approving an illegal election to fill 25 vacant seats in the senate. He said that because the election was to be overseen by SG senate President Jennifer Belmont instead of the Election Rules Commission (ERC), it was illegal.
Chavis said the election was legal because the ERC is not yet in session. He approved of the election in the form of a legal opinion.
“It’s not like I wrote that legal opinion to do something egregiously corrupt,” Chavis said. “It was to elect senators.”
An SG statute states that the ERC as an official entity created to “oversee the execution and logistics of all SG elections.”
However, this year’s ERC will not be formed until later this month or early November.
At a Sept. 29 meeting, the senate voted to amend those statutes after Leddy and Shockley questioned the legality of the election.
The amendment said that because the upcoming election was called prior to the formation of the ERC, Manka, SG office manager Judy Pollock and the SG graduate assistant Kelsey San Antonio would oversee it, instead of Belmont.
The election will be held today and Wednesday.
“If the senate feels that something was done that was unjust, then by all means as attorney general, I encourage them to keep going forward (with the investigation),” Chavis said.