The Student Government (SG) Senate voted last week to confirm the appointment of directors for two of the three SG agencies – SAFE Team and Bulls Radio – as well as the director of the Department of Government Affairs.
Following SG statutes, the choices were handpicked by the student body president’s executive branch and then confirmed by the Senate.
A highly questionable choice for Bulls Radio director, coupled with contradicting statements regarding the legitimacy of the procedures used in the directors’ appointments has rightly brought controversy, reflecting the need for more clarity and accountability.
Michael Ranon, a civil engineering major and former director of Bulls Radio, was replaced despite working five years for Bulls Radio and previously holding all four of its leadership positions in favor of Brett Farrar, who has never worked at a radio station in his life.
Farrar was interviewed and ultimately hired by fellow Sigma Nu fraternity member and Vice President of SG Spencer Montgomery, who was in charge of hiring for the position.
Ranon says he was not given a fair chance because he was only provided a one-day notice before his first interview, and the second one was only hours before the Senate confirmed his successor, which may imply a lack of consideration in hiring him for the position.
The process involving the hiring of SG’s Director of the Department of Government Affairs Frank Hernandez also raised serious questions.
“He was not the most qualified person for the position,” Khalid Hassouneh, chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules said of hiring Hernandez. “You know why? Because no one else was interviewed for his position. Why? Because he was hired and signed the HR paperwork before the 51st term even began as director of Government Affairs.”
The fact that Hernandez was hired and paid before his position and administration was to begin is certainly questionable.
However, it’s apparently not a problem and, in fact, quite widespread.
“In regards to the clocking in before appointment, several other members of the executive branch, judicial and agencies were doing it,” said Senate President Jennifer Belmont.
According to SG Statute 407.1.1, a Senate confirmation is required for “all new directors for Agencies and Departments who are nominated by the Student Body President.”
It’s unclear whether it’s a violation to begin one’s position before being confirmed, but the contradictory nature of SG’s responses is unacceptable.
SG leaders need to more clearly define the legal parameters surrounding the nomination process and when officials can begin their jobs, as well as act more selectively when making nominations to avoid the appearance of a process seemingly plagued by fraternal back-scratching.