By Lana Hall
A Ryerson Students’ Union executive wants to hire a general manager at a cost of $75,000 a year — three times more than what the union’s president makes.
After 17 grievances bogged down the RSU’s labour relations this year, Ibrahim (Abe) Snobar, VP student life and events, wants to bring in a manager to oversee RSU staff.
“Basically he or she would be acting as a staff relations officer,” Snobar said. “And they would add some continuity within the union structure from year to year, which we need.”
Last week, he persuaded the union’s executive committee to vote in favour of the hire, over the objection of RSU President Nora Loreto. She walked out of the meeting after other members censured her.
She says the RSU doesn’t have the $75,000. The union had a general manager two years ago, but she says the position was abolished because it “created a false hierarchy” and overpowered the executive team.
“The general manager would essentially be responsible for the job of president, vice-president and the two executive directors,” she says.
Former RSU president and incoming VP Education Rebecca Rose abolished the original position during her presidency.
She fears the hiring of a non-student manager will deplete union resources and diminish the role of the two executive directors, who were initially hired as student alternatives to the general manager. “We restructured the RSU so it was less topheavy,” she says. “We believe that it should be run by students.”
“I think it’s just shameful that they’re trying to push us through at the end of the last term,” she says.
Snobar is also calling for a series of changes to the bylaws that govern how elections are run. The primary change would be to article 6, which allows the outgoing president to handpick the chief returning officer to oversee the election of her successor.
He wants this to change after frequently clashing with this year’s CRO during a bid for the presidency. Paris Cameron-Gardos, the CRO, was picked by Loreto, with whom Snobar is openly hostile. As a result, Snobar continually accused Cameron-Gardos of unfairly punishing him for infractions during the RSU’s recent elections that included, among other things, trying to get Snobar and charged under the school’s Student Code of Non-Academic Conduct for talking out of turn during an all-candidate’s debate.
The bylaws will be discussed at tonight’s annual general meeting. The general manager will be hired for the coming year, but details are still being sorted out with the RSU’s legal advisor.