SG president, VP officially offered interim salary for first time

Though the student body president- and vice president-elects are now authorized to receive compensation for working during the time between when they are elected and take office, they arent cashing in on the full amount.

The Student Government (SG) executive branch budget saw an $11,614 decrease in Activity and Service (A&S) fee allocations for the 2012-2013 fiscal year. Yet, despite the cuts, President-elect Brian Goff and Vice President-elect George Papadeas were authorized to collect the full $10.25 per hour for 39 hours a week which they would each earn in their future positions for the four or five weeks before they take office.

Current student body President Matt Diaz was the first president-elect to be put on payroll by SG before actually taking office. Yet earlier this year, the SG Senate passed a bill that formalized the process by which the president- and vice president-elect are to be paid during their training period, as well as have partial control over SG funds.

Goff, a junior majoring in biochemistry, said neither of the two will collect that much until after they are sworn in.

Thats what we were authorized for, but it doesnt really work out like that at the end of the day, he said. George is only working 15 hours a week because of his RA position, so hes not working the full 39, and I was already on payroll as the attorney general, and I dont think theyve changed over my rate at 25 hours a week.

The funding for the two positions already existed in the executive branchs budget, SG Senate President Khalid Hassouneh said to The Oracle in a March 30 interview. Last year, the A&S Fee Recommendation Committee allocated $210,304 in A&S fees to the executive branch, but some was left over as not all positions were filled immediately.

In part, the $198,690 executive branch budget decreased for the 2012-13 fiscal year because many of the SG initiatives it funded were moved to other budget categories such as Special Projects, which has $613,814 in funds, Hassouneh said. Goff will have the ability to request additional funds for the executive branch if he deems it necessary when he takes office May 3.

Goff said he and Papadeas would be committed to the job regardless of pay, but the additional money during the interim period is helpful.

Being able to start early and get paid for it is nice, he said. I think George and I would have done it either way, but this way he was able to scale back from his other commitments, and we were able to make up for lost wages with wages here.

Former student body President Cesar Hernandez, a senior majoring in biomedical sciences, said the time between when he was elected and when he took office was madness, but he didnt know that the position of student body president was paid until after he took office.

I was so happy to get paid, but now that Im in the professional world, I make a lot more than I did as student body president, and I work a lot less, he said.

While Hernandez was paid at the same rate as Diaz, in years past the student body President has been paid more, with 2009-10 student body president Juan Soltero earning $10.95 an hour for 38 hours per week.

Hernandez said compensation during the transition period would have been helpful.

As soon as you get elected, you hit the ground running, he said. If you dont hit the ground running, by the time you come into office youre going to get slapped with so many things and youre not going to be ready.

Hernandez said he met with university officials, former student government leaders and new leaders during his interim period, often putting in between 60 to 65 hours of work per week, including on weekends.

Diaz said the compensation for his position is appropriate.

It allows me to get through college, he said. But were here to serve the students, so it would be inappropriate for me to make $15 or $20 an hour. What we have is more than sufficient, even though we do work over the hours nearly every week.

The experience, Hernandez said, is worth much more than money.

When youre student body president, youre not doing it for the pay, he said. Youre doing it for the students. I would say the overall experience is priceless. You cant put a value to it.

Additional reporting by Diedra Rodriguez