AUSU This Month – Changes to Executive Council

Changes to Council Executive
The AUSU “cabinet” does the shuffle

AUSU councillors are elected for two-year terms and, traditionally, the three executives also serve for two years. In early 2005, however, council began to discuss the possibility of holding a mid-term executive election for the following reasons:

? Executive positions are very demanding and require a large time commitment for a modest wage. All AU committees and executives work daytime hours, as do AUSU staff, therefore most meetings AUSU executives must attend regularly are also scheduled during the day. While executives can make their own hours to some extent, the frequent daytime commitments preclude AUSU executives from holding full-time jobs outside of AUSU. They may also find it difficult to maintain a full course load (many universities permit student council executives to hold full-time student status while taking only one course while they serve, but AU has no such provision). A mid-term election provides tired executives an opportunity to step down after a year without prejudice or a sense of ending their commitment early.

? Some councillors may not run for executive positions when they first get on council because they are inexperienced and do not feel ready to effectively serve in this capacity. For this reason, seasoned councillors usually are elected to executive positions. By midway through the two-year term, newer councillors may reconsider. This also allows councillors who may have been added to council through a by-election to have an opportunity to run.

? After a year, councillors will also have a better idea of who will serve best in each of the executive positions and may want an opportunity to cast a new vote.

A mid-term election was necessary during the 2004/06 council term due to the resignation of two of the three executives. This term, councillors developed a new executive election policy to allow for the option of a mid-term election each term. In mid-March, council decided to hold a mid-term election for this year.

Lonita Fraser, VP External for AUSU for the last two years, decided not to run at this time due to a high course load, and she has moved to a regular councillor without portfolio position.

New councillor Huma Lodhi, who has been with council for one year, chose to run for VP Finance, due to her experience on the AUSU Finance Committee over the last year.

VP Finance for the past three years, Karl Low, chose to run for the vacant VP External position.

Lisa Priebe, President for the last two years, opted to run again for her position.

The three candidates were acclaimed to their positions at a special meeting of council held on April 16, 2007. As both outgoing executives are still with council and available to assist their successors, the changeover is expected to be very smooth.