Volume 94, Issue 95

Wednesday, March 21, 2001


Editorial Board 2000-2001

No honour, no money

Editorial Cartoon

No honour, no money

Depending on whether it is tabled until next year or not, a motion that would impose more stringent checks and balances on the awarding of a $500 honoraria to executive members of the Social Science Students' Council will go before the SSSC tonight.

Authored by SSSC president Josh Morgan, the motion is designed to ensure that no one on the council's executive picks up a paycheque at the end of the year without having first completely discharged their duties and provided a year-end report on their activities to the council.

These reports would have to be accepted by the SSSC's president, president-elect and speaker. If one of those people rejected the report, a secret vote would be taken among members of the outgoing council to decide whether the executive member should get the loot or not.

According to the rationale attached to this motion, it is also designed to take power away from the president, who, as things stand, gets to be the sole arbiter of whether or not a report is acceptable and merits the reward of an honorarium.

No student wants a students' council filled with under-performing slackers who do next-to-nothing to benefit students, but still pick up an honorarium at the end of the year. Granted, a $500 honorarium for eight months of involvement, even if that includes nothing more than showing up for council meetings, is pretty small potatoes.

And yet, credit should not be accorded where credit is not due – it makes sense to verify that executive members have actually contributed something worth recognizing with a financial gift.

It also makes sense to broaden the panel that judges whether a member should reap the reward or not. After all, letting the president judge by his or herself what qualifies as an honorarium-worthy report concentrates too much power in the president's hands and all but guarantees that, in practice, the assessment process will be a rubber stamping of the report submitted.

However, it should also be said that a more stringent review of executive member performance at term's end, coupled with a greater threat of losing one's honorarium, is probably not the fastest route to improving the performance of executive members.

Instead of concentrating on the honorarium-awarding procedures, perhaps the council should look at defining the expectations of its VPs more clearly or expanding the responsibilities VPs have, in order to make sure these people spend their time usefully and productively.

The motion has merit – it creates a more equitable balance of power in the honorarium-awarding process. Council should also think about making VPs better from the day they start their job by stepping up communications with all the students in the faculty and developing a consensus about exactly what a VP is and does.

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