<strong>By <a href=”http://22.214.171.124/tag/jennifer-bednard“>Jennifer Bednard</a></strong>
President addresses concerns that the new structure may be less democratic
Students in the Business Administration Student Society will be seeing some changes to the process of appointing officials to the executive council. As of the special general meeting held on February 2, the BASS executive council will consist of seven members: three elected and four appointed. In addition, the board of advisors has become the board of governors and will be responsible for making long-term decisions for the BASS. Brock Balfour, BASS president, explained these changes in an interview with The Peak.
“Previously we had five executives: our VP-internal, our VP-external, our VP-marketing and communications, and the VP-finance. But as [BASS] grew and evolved, we needed a structure to reflect that. We did a little bit of portfolio shuffling to reflect all of our different operations. We’ve split our VP-external portfolio into VP-events and VP-external and we added a VP-human resources to ensure that we do a better job with the succession plan and with recruitment and retention. The executive council is responsible for all in-year decisions, anything that doesn’t majorly affect the society, and actually running and executing all our different operations.”
Balfour added that the positions of president, VP-internal, and VP-human resources would be elected and would then choose among applicants to appoint the remaining executive council members in an in-camera meeting. “What happens in a general election is that you often get people who don’t have the skill set required for the position. This is one of those things that we discussed at length.”
In addition to the changes to the executive council, the board of advisors was scrapped in favour of a new governing body. Balfour explained, “The biggest problem we had was one that many student organizations have: the one-year turnover. It’s very hard to have multi-year visions and multi-year strategies without some sort of board that is there for multiple years. So, we’ve added a board of governors, upgraded from our board of advisors, that’s comprised of the past president, the current president, the SFSS business representative, a member of the faculty — likely the associate dean, a club president from business, and two past BASS executives.” In the new constitution, the board of governors will be responsible for all long-term decisions such as multi-year sponsorships and will have to ratify any sponsorships that are worth over $10,000 or expenditures greater than $5,000 that have been passed by the executive council.
Though the number of elected positions on the executive council has decreased, Balfour feels that the new process fits better with BASS. “Many schools have found it most effective to elect only the president and appoint everyone else. We decided to go with a hybrid system where the cost and benefits essentially cancel each other out. Obviously, if you have everyone elected, the members really get to decide, but there are the problems of voter turnout and people not actually knowing what the positions take to be successful and the different experience required.”
Balfour also responded to concerns that the new structure is undemocratic. “In addition to [the elected members of the executive council], the board of governors, the SFSS business representative is directly chosen by students. People directly elect the past president and the current president on the board of governors. Past BASS executives are likely to have been elected at one point, as we’ll likely have a past president or VP-internal serve, and club presidents will be indirectly voted in by the different constituents. So, even on the board of governors, there is quite a bit of democracy. People really do have a strong say in BASS’s movement forward.” He added: “We feel that it’s a really strong and positive improvement. I don’t think that anyone’s going to say that we don’t need any minor tweaking moving forward, but we’re excited that we have a base to be a true student society moving forward.”