Almost immediately after finding out that they would head the next student government administration, President and Vice President-elect Regina Martel and Joe Eden got to work creating their $2 million student fee-funded budget â€“â€“ one that would give each of them a $750 pay raise per the advice of current President Eric Berlinberg.
After little debate this budget was approved Wednesday night by the Associated Students of CSU Senate in an emergency vote recommended by Martel so she could immediately begin her hiring process for next year.
â€œIt is difficult to hire people while everything (the budget) is up in the air. Putting this on emergency status is important to set up our next administration for success,â€ ASCSU Vice President Rachel Roberson explained to Senate before the vote.
Senator Andy Shank said he felt skeptical to move so quickly to put the budget into emergency status and voted to do so only â€œbegrudgingly.â€
While no senators disputed Martel and Edenâ€™s decision to increase their salaries, some students in attendance voiced their concerns.
â€œI personally think that itâ€™s very unethical for someone to set their own pay rate. Itâ€™s rather unfair,â€ said freshmen political science major Thomas Rooney, addressing the entire Senate.
Current ASCSU President Eric Berlinberg said he thought this issue put Martel and Eden in an â€œawkward spot,â€ but he nevertheless said he felt from the beginning that it was something that needed to be done.
Martel justified the pay raise by saying that it has been more than three years since the president and vice president have had a raise. The proposed $750 salary increase would mean that Martel will be paid $9,000 and Eden will be paid $8,000 for the 2012-2013 academic year.
She added that while the decision to increase pay was one of the hardest they had to make, she felt it would create an incentive for individuals to fill these positions in the future.
According to Berlinberg, when he sat down with candidates before the presidential race, he felt, â€œsomeone needs to suck it up and do it already.â€
â€œMy recommendation was to figure out what those tiers (of ASCSU leadership) were because we need to get to some sort of level playing field,â€ Berlinberg said.
He added that he also felt incentive was an issue because he thought students would eventually forgo the executive positions for jobs with better pay.
By meeting with department heads such as Director of Governmental Affairs Chase Eckerdt, Finance Director Wendy Bowling and Director of Student Affairs Tim Brogdon, Martel said they could make next yearâ€™s budget work more efficiently using a three-tiered payment system for ASCSU directors and deputy directors.
According to next yearâ€™s budget, the first tier of ASCSU leadership is for first-class directors (such as RamRide), the second is for second-class directors (such as university affairs) and the third is for deputy directors.
Martel said that the process began with an evaluation of the director and deputy director positions within the ASCSU infrastructure. According to her, by utilizing her experience as deputy chief of staff this year, she was able to rely on her knowledge of how many hours and how much responsibility came with the different positions.
â€œThis isnâ€™t to quantify what they do. What it comes down to is making it fair across the board while still holding everyone accountable to what we expect,â€ Martel said.
ASCSU Beat Reporter Sarah Fenton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Total ASCSU Expenditures for fiscal year 2013: $1,970,766.43