Seventy-five percent of Associated Students Legislative Council members may have agreed in principle to the removal of their honoraria, but in practice they voted the bill down.
Legislative Council members used the majority of Wednesday’s meeting to discuss a bill that would permanently remove all honoraria for elected officers. Legislative Council members are supposed to get $350 a quarter, and executive officers $400 a quarter in addition to paid tuition; however, they have voted two years in a row to voluntarily go without honoraria due to A.S. budgetary woes. The executive officers will continue to have their tuition and parking paid by A.S.
University-owned housing Representative Alex Gossage, who authored the bill, said it was written with the intention of removing an ineffective system while leaving room for other ways to compensate elected officials for their service.
Honoraria are provided to A.S. executive officers and council members so those with limited financial resources will not have to balance part-time jobs with Leg Council duties. According to the A.S. by-laws, members without sufficient attendance at council meetings, office hours and other activities will have their honoraria decreased. Because council members have not received honoraria this year, there are few penalties for those who do not attend meetings.
Council members with two unexcused absences can be presented for removal from Leg Council and eight council members were up for removal last quarter due to insufficient attendance at meetings. None of the council members were removed, but attendance remains a problem. So few members attended last week’s meeting that it failed to meet quorum.
With 25 Leg Council members and four executive officers, Gossage’s bill would permanently free the $10,350 that is earmarked for honoraria each quarter to be used for other programs.
Representative-at-large Corina Garcia spoke against the bill.
“I don’t think there’s any point to removing honoraria. The money’s going to chill there until the budget can handle it,” she said.
Off-campus Representative Sarah Hooper also opposed the bill, not because of the removal of honoraria, but because of the scope of the bill.
“I feel that it is equitable to remove executive officers’ tuition,” she said. “If our budget is in this condition, then we should get rid of the $25,000 [in tuition], plus the parking privileges that they get.”
Hooper proposed an amendment to remove the payment of executive officers’ tuition, but an overwhelming majority voted it down.
“I don’t understand the desire to cut [executive officers’] tuition,” Gossage said. “They put in countless more hours than Leg Council members.”
The majority of Leg Council agreed with Gossage’s sentiment, but not his bill. Of the 20 who voted on it, only five members voted in favor of the bill.
In other news, the Daily Nexus became the subject of discussion at the end of the meeting. The Daily Nexus’ April 17 editorial targeting A.S. Director Don Daves-Rougeaux for his involvement with the Sliding Scale Fee initiative, which failed on the spring ballot, was criticized, with one leggie calling for A.S. to blacklist the Nexus.
“I call upon Leg Council members to refuse to give interviews to Nexus reporters,” Representative-at-large Fernando Ramirez said.
Daves-Rougeaux did not comment, but did point out that he was wearing a silk shirt.