By Emerald Bensadoun
During their first day in office, members of the Ryerson Students’ Union exec team removed their general manager position, The Eyeopener has learned. Sid Naidu, the former RSU general manager (GM) was fired from his position, effective immediately.
Reporting directly to the RSU president, the GM position is the RSU’s top permanent manager, responsible for the day-to-day operations of the RSU, human resources management and for long term operational planning. According to a 2017 job posting, the GM is also accountable to Ryerson’s Board of Directors, and exercises delegated authority in the management of the RSU from year-to-year.
According to RSU president Ram Ganesh, the role will be replaced by two separate positions, which will absorb its responsibilities. While the positions have no formal titles or job descriptions yet, Ganesh said one will focus on human resources, while the other will handle communications, finances and RSU general operations, “kind of like an operations analyst.”
Naidu’s ousting also represents a decrease in signing officers down from four to three executives—Ganesh, RSU vice-president operations, Savreen Gosal, and financial coordinator Dharshini Jayachandran. Signing officers are representatives with the power to commit the authorizing organization to a binding agreement.
According to Ganesh, once the new hires have been made, a fourth signing officer will be instated.
In an interview, Ganesh told The Eyeopener that the position was removed due to HR restructuring.
“It’s been a fantastic role because it was created for the RSU in that year, but there was way too much going on with the general manager’s portfolio starting from legal to transitioning to managing operations, working with services, overlooking finances, working with executives, reporting to the board,” said Ganesh. “There was just way too much going on for one person.”
Naidu was unable to be reached in time for publication.
The GM position was originally created as a result of an audit performed by the Appian Way Group, an auditing firm that was hired to conduct the RSU efficiency audit in 2015 that led to the dismissal of Gilary Massa. Massa, who was the RSU’s executive director of communications outreach at the time, was three months into her maternity leave when she received a phone call from former RSU president Andrea Bartlett terminating her employment.
Massa’s full-time, unionized position was later succeeded by the non-union general manager position.
In addition to operational planning, Naidu was responsible for managing all financial operations, ensuring financial stability and implementing budget controls. No longer reporting to a GM could also make it easier for the RSU executives to obtain direct control of their funds, previously oversaw by the GM.
During the school year, the RSU employs roughly 52 part-time staff, with anywhere between nine and 11 full-time staff. Having one person focusing solely on them, said Ganesh, would help better manage the HR for the organization.
The operations analyst position, said Ganesh, would hopefully be used to bring better services to students.
“There used to be a time when the RSU had tons of services and we’d keep pumping out better services for the students,” said Ganesh. “Lately we’ve taking a backseat on that… We want to do a complex analysis of the RSU and see how we can spend their money better on the services.”
Although they would like to have both roles filled within two weeks, Ganesh said the RSU will be taking its time in selecting the new candidates to ensure that they’re the “right fit for the organization.” Until both vacant positions are filled, Ganesh said the GM’s responsibilities will fall to the executives. Liaising with the Board of Governors, said Ganesh, has fallen “mainly” to him.
With the absence of a general manager, every executive position will now report to the Board of Directors* with Ganesh chairing the executive committee.
Correction: A previous version of this article stated that every RSU executive position would now report to the Board of Governors. However, they would report to the Board of Directors. The Eyeopener regrets this error.