GPSA raises pay, establishes government affairs committee
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Council approves more money for executive board members
The Graduate and Professional Students Association approved changes to its bylaws that will see executives’ pay increased and vest the treasurer with authority over a standing Government Relations Committee.
The GPSA Council unanimously decided to turn the ad hoc Government Affairs Committee into a permanent body.
“We want to make it a standing committee because we see budget cuts are not going away in the near future,” said GPSA president Michael Gordon.
The GPSA treasurer — the only Executive Board member who has not chaired a committee in the past — will head the division.
The vice president chairs GPSA’s Grants Committee and the secretary chairs its Publications division.
“The treasurer’s job is less demanding than the other three positions on the [Executive Board],” said current treasurer George Molnar.
He said that it will be beneficial having the person who keeps the books for the graduate and professional student government build relationships with the decision makers behind university funding.
Jennifer Reed, who currently serves as GPSA’s sociology representative and is running unopposed for 2012-13 treasurer, said that she is well-equipped to act as a liaison between graduate and professional students and state lawmakers and Nevada System of Higher Education officials.
“That’s part of the reason that really pushed me into running for this position,” she said.
William S. Boyd School of Law representative Ben Reitz pointed out that following the attribution of this new responsibility, the treasurer’s position may not be titled appropriately.
“If it’s called the treasurer and 90 percent of what you’re doing is related to governmental affairs, I wonder if there’s a better name for the position,” he said.
Gordon explained that the head of the Governmental Relations Committee will have a very “time-intensive” job during biennial sessions of the state Legislature but that he or she will continue to report to the council on GPSA spending.
The GPSA manager, Rebecca Boulton, acts as the organization’s accountant.
The council voted down a proposal last month to increase their own pay from $100 per semester to $150, but on Monday approved a $50-per-semester increase for the four members of the Executive Board.
Beginning in Fall 2012, the president and vice president will be paid $550 per semester apiece and the secretary and treasurer will receive $350 per semester apiece.
Gordon, who is running unopposed for re-election, said that in light of last month’s failed measure, he was “surprised” by Monday’s decision.
He explained that $200 per term —which amounts to $600 a year — was a simple figure to present to the council.
“That was an easier number to grasp than $50 per person,” he said.
The measure to increase executives’ pay was approved with a 19-8-5 vote.
Those who opposed the item cited GPSA’s shrinking budget — a result of a one-third drop in graduate and professional student enrollment — which they said was the reason they turned down the council pay bill.
Supporters of the change said that GPSA executives had earned the pay raise.
“If we don’t pay people for the jobs they’re doing then what kind of institution are we?” one council member said.
Any member of the GPSA Council or Executive Board who misses more than one council meeting is not paid for that semester.
The council, which meets once a month, also voted to change GPSA rules about when a replacement must be appointed to fill the position of an Executive Board member who has resigned.
A vacancy must be announced at the first GPSA council meeting following a resignation. Under the amendment, applications for a replacement no longer must be kept open through the following meeting.
Antonio Gutierrez, who was elected 2010-11 vice president, resigned partway through his term. Gordon, who then served as treasurer, took over Gutierrez’s responsibilities.
The council also amended the GPSA Bylaws to define Summer Term as coming at the end of the year, which is important to how the organization distributes grant money.
“We don’t want to have summer at the start, fund a lot of stuff and then run out of money in spring,” Gordon said.
GPSA spent about $125,000 on grants this year.
Haley Etchison reports on the Graduate and Professional Student Association for The Rebel Yell. Contact her at email@example.com.