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Updated on Friday, September 19

#19803

OMG: If you are interested in Feds, come out to the Feds Council meeting this Sunday at 12:30 in the SLC Multi-Purpose Room.

What is going to happen at this meeting? There will be elections to many different committees (which any student can do and are a GREAT way to get involved with Feds without a huge time commitment), there will be a few discussions and votes on policies and procedures of Feds, and there will be a vote on initiating a referendum to see if students want a Fall Reading Break.

For more info on this meeting, you can check out the Agenda for the meeting here:

https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B_heVS67z37XM1Nla2s5MkxWcE0

You can also get more information by contacting your Councillors, which you can do by looking at feds.ca.

Student engagement is an incredibly important part of Feds, and this is a great way to contribute.

109 comments

  1. What the fuck is feds

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    1. have you never been inside the slc

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  2. There's a very annoying cycle on this campus.

    1) Students ignore what Feds does - they don't vote, they don't volunteer/get engaged, they don't pay attention to Council, etc.
    2) Feds tries to serve the student body's needs, except the average student isn't telling Feds what they want/need.
    3) Certain student needs on-campus aren't met.
    4) Students blame Feds, claim it doesn't represent them, and so proceed to ignore what Feds does.
    5) Return to 1.

    Break the cycle - attend Council meetings! You don't have to be a member of Council - the AUDIENCE is a CRITICAL part of the transparent democratic process! It's your student union, and it affects more of your campus life than you might realize, so don't blow it off!

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    1. Ask not what your student union can do for you, but what you can do for your student union.

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    2. Who the hell has time for that

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    3. 2c, not everyone, and that's okay. But in life you make time for the things that are important to you, and you don't complain about the rest. If all you have time for is to e-mail your councillor about an issue that matters, then you should at least do that.

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  3. $100k to the Fed's GM in 2013? What student leaders will step forward to put Feds salary disclosures on the agenda at the feds meeting. I didn't see it listed. Or is it not something allowed to be discussed and debated?

    From last year's Record article Managers earn top dollar at student governments, UW's General Manager, Federation of Students salary was only given as a range from $72,925 to $109,387.

    The Ontario Governement's 2014 Public Sector Salary Disclosure has a specific salary. Here's the line item for the position showing a salary paid in 2013 of $100,870.32, and taxable benefits of $307.56:

    University of Waterloo BURDETT SUZANNE General Manager, Federation of Students $100,870.32 $307.56

    What do the Feds think of this, do they disclose the aggregate Feds budget and salaries? Who pays how much of this? Is it 100% from UW students? The Record article says 26 people work there. What do they do and is this in line with students' expectations? Looks real steep to me.

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    1. http://www.feds.ca/about/fees-and-funding/

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    2. 3, I've tried responding to this twice now, but either something is wrong with the site or the MODS keep deleting my reply. I'm assuming it's the latter, and that the problem is my comment is too long. So I'm going to cut it into 2 halves and respond below.

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    3. First of all 3, I recommend checking out 3a's link. I'll try to respond to your sentences line-by-line...

      //"What do the Feds think of this, do they disclose the aggregate Feds budget and salaries?"

      The link 3a shared should include the Feds Operating Budget (which is overseen and approved by both Students Council and the student-run Board of Directors), which includes a line item for "General Office," which includes full-time salary expenses.

      //"Who pays how much of this? Is it 100% from UW students?"

      With the exception of work-study students (where the vast majority of the salary load is paid by the provincial government), Feds staff are Feds employees, and so they are paid entirely out of the Feds budget.

      //"The Record article says 26 people work there. What do they do and is this in line with students' expectations?"

      The full staff directory is on the Feds website.
      Every full-time staff position is approved PRIOR to the start of the hiring process by the Feds Board of Directors, who are elected at each year's March General Meeting to oversee all affairs of the corporation, including Feds' HR needs.There are 11 members of the BoD, all students - the 4 exec, 2 members of students' council, and 5 students at-large.

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    4. //From last year's Record article Managers earn top dollar at student governments, UW's General Manager, Federation of Students salary was only given as a range from $72,925 to $109,387."

      A simple investigation can reveal why. UW HR lists her position as 'USG 13,' and identifies that as the salary range for USG 13 positions.

      //"The Ontario Governement's 2014 Public Sector Salary Disclosure has a specific salary. Here's the line item for the position showing a salary paid in 2013 of $100,870.32, and taxable benefits of $307.56:"

      Yes. That's because Feds is a public corporation, and as such is required to allow the gov't to disclose salaries of all employees making over $100k.

      //"What student leaders will step forward to put Feds salary disclosures on the agenda at the feds meeting. I didn't see it listed. Or is it not something allowed to be discussed and debated?"

      It effectively isn't. Under the Operating Agreement between Feds and the University, the two organizations share a common HR department. Among other things, this means that Feds and UW share a common set of HR policies, and both their FT staff are graded on the same payscale. This is intended to prevent the University from poaching Feds' staff members, and to save Feds the costs of hiring and operating its own HR department. It also extends a wide range of rights and protections to Feds staff that they wouldn't otherwise have. And it means that if Feds ever went bankrupt, the University would pay the severance costs to the Feds staff, since they're on the UW payroll.

      Feel free to independently verify everything I've said. For more info:
      -Consider emailing the Feds GM; or
      -Pay a visit to the Feds VP Operations, who chairs the Budget Committee; or
      -Talk to a member of the Board of Directors (they're listed online).

      If you're looking for useful reading, the Feds Bylaws, and Board Procedures aren't bad places to start.

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    5. Feds Exec salaries are explicitly disclosed in the budget, since they're considered contract management and not salaried FT staff, meaning the BoD/General Meeting can set different rules for them.

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    6. 3 here. Thanks for your timely and detailed responses. Not pleased with parts of the situation but I appreciate the straight facts you gave.

      Good spreadsheet though it'd help to see more source data behind tab "Summary of Operations" typed-in cells L4 and M4 General Office budget and actual. It goes 80% to line 18 expenses and 20% to line 34 commercial expenses.

      It looks like almost one seventh of the general office expenses of 728k, last year went to the to General Manager, and the rest 627k was split among the remaining 22 to 25 people,using either your 11+4+2+5-1 for the GM, of the Record's 26-1 for the GM.

      I may be wrong but it looks like from the budget of 2.5m and general office budget of 882k, 35% of your spending is on salaries out of your control if those salaries are negotiated only by UW HR, up from 31% from last year's actual amounts. That line item increases by 21% 2014 budget over 2013 actual, which is much higher than inflation and somewhat concerning.

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    7. 3f, glad I could help, at least a little!

      General Office also includes Feds' legal expenses. I feel like I should mention that.

      The salaries aren't "entirely" outside Feds' control. The Exec/GM are heavily involved in the salary negotiation process, alongside UW HR. The Board also has control over whether or not positions are hired/renewed, and can choose to lay off employees if absolutely necessary.

      Last I checked, staff salaries do currently increase by 3% annually for everyone on the UW payroll (courtesy of UW's last agreement with the Staff Association), and that does extend to Feds - but don't quote me on that. You'd be much better off chatting with the VP Operations. His office (located inside the Feds' main offices in the SLC) is always open, as are all the other execs, you can pay him a visit at any time.

      I'm sure that if you asked nicely he'd be happy to pull up some general numbers for you - or perhaps invite you to sit in on a Budget Committee meeting.
      For what it's worth, I don't think Feds spends its money with a whole lot of efficiency. The Board often approves new staff positions a little *too* readily, without giving very detailed consideration to the other options (i.e. hiring students part-time, or a full-time coop student where the option exists), and the current power structure in Feds (4 execs who have to fight over resources, reporting only to the BoD) gives the unelected GM near-total power over all HR and staff management-related issues. While this has its benefits for Feds as an organization, it has obvious drawbacks for students as a whole. Only interested people can change it for the better!

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    8. 3/3f here. Thanks again for your impressive, candid answers. Good job.

      The unelected GM's near-total power fits in with their surprisingly high salary of over 100k, and their group's growing use of total revenue available to spent. It points to a possible bad scenario of someone who's been able to build a fiefdom that doesn't serve students' best interests as much as it serves their own. If this is true people may want to look for ways to
      - reign the GM in to take specific budget lines' power back by students,
      - zero-based budgeting
      - reducing the aggregate revenue required to fund Feds, to reduce the fee paid per student
      - explore other uses of the money collected for the 882k in salaries. But careful not to just move it to something else students don't have power over.

      Any items being non-negotiable should set off warning bells.

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    9. Agreed 3h. Did you know that the highest paid staff members reporting to the GM are rated as USG 7? That's currently $46087.28 - $69130.91... https://uwaterloo.ca/secretariat-general-counsel/sites/ca.secretariat-general-counsel/files/uploads/files/2014-2015_staff_salary_scales.pdf

      The current staff structure in Feds is such that every management-level staff reports jointly to a Feds Exec and the GM. Meanwhile the GM reports to the President and the VP Operations. But because all the exec are at the same level, trying to work independently with a pool of shared resources, the result is that most of those management-level staff just look to the GM for approval. (It helps that she's been at Feds for something like 15 years now...)

      One proposal that's been floated around before is the idea of making the VPs subordinate to the President. That way there would be a clear power structure, focused on students rather than a staff member. This could be effective, if you coupled it with a more engaged/involved BoD and Council.

      There was also a proposal at the AGM last October to reduce the Feds Fee by 10%, but the meeting ended before anyone could vote on it. Instead the fee received its annual inflation-level increase the following March (by general consent, without debate).

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    10. Thanks again and I'm surprised again. It shouldn't require a position 6 job grades higher to manage staff. Unless lower level staff report to the USG 7 levels, the current setup:
      - looks like too many staff reporting up to one person
      - may contravene UW HR rules for number of people reporting to a manager. How many reports does she have?
      - looks like a consolidation of power by the GM rather than sharing.

      Poster 6 below gave a good link to the June 28, 2014 Imprint article about meetings becoming closed to students. Garcia said closing the meetings would create a “safe environment, and less scrutiny results in better decision-making.”

      I have two issues with this:
      First, it suggests there wasn't a safe environment before. Were there Ontario Human Rights concerns? Did the police need to be called in?
      Second, it's patently wrong and backwards that less scrutiny results in better decision-making. Tell that to the Auditor-General.

      I don't trust the motivations of anyone who would vote for this. In Danielle Burt's Sorry…We’re Closed blog/news feed, she said a consulting company rep was "was extremely concerned that our board meetings were conducted in an open session", but didn't say what the concerns were.

      Danielle also said the consultant said that "All Board agendas, minutes and decisions should be publicly posted ...". I looked at some recent minutes and they aren't at all complete.
      a) There aren't minutes from the July 2014 and August 2014 sessions, though there are agendas. Why aren't there minutes? It's been months. Minutes should come out very shortly after the meeting. Hours or a day, tops.
      b) the minutes from the June 2014 are incomplete and not informative. Once the confidential session starts, no minutes are taken. So why even go through the motions?

      Her second last paragraph's level of hubris is breathtaking.

      She closes with "My door is always open for you". Except when it's not.

      Not acceptable.

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    11. So polite, always thanking me. ^.^

      Yeah the closed BoD meetings is pretty pathetic. I seem to recall Imprint published a community ed piece on that closure that said a lot of things I agreed with. Might be worth a look.

      I believe the GM has 10 or 11 reports total, out of approx. 33 FT staff in Feds (not including the exec in that number). Some of those reports oversee front-line staff (who may or may not manage volunteers/co-ops/part-timers/people who get paid honorariums only), others oversee assistant managers and mid-level staff. It depends on the department.

      There are a couple full-time staff who are solely contract-based (i.e. 1 year renewable conditional contracts), and therefore aren't hired at a USG level or paid benefits the way the permanent staffers are.

      I believe the only reasons the GM's USG is so high is a) because there are people working for UW who have roughly the same number of reports/responsibilities yet are being paid at a higher USG level (for instance, the director of the Student Success Office is a USG 15), and b) because she's been at the university for so damn long (that has an impact).

      Also, the number of 'levels' of reports below her do factor in and subsequently drive up the USG value, IIRC.

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    12. http://www.uwimprint.ca/article/4390-re-feds-board-of-directors-closes

      I think that's what 3k is talking about.

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    13. also: http://www.uwimprint.ca/article/4355-feds-board-of-directors-closes-meetings

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    14. ^6 linked that below. :)

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    15. 3k through 3n, thanks for your further clarifying information and links. This helps us understand the situation without the spin.

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  4. Do we get paid salary for being involved in a FEDs committee?

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    1. No. All Councillors, Directors, and Committee members of Feds receive no remuneration for acting as such, under Feds' own bylaws.

      There are some indirect benefits though (for example, the execs have a budget for providing food at meetings). And there's a particular resume benefit to sitting on committees for a $30 million public corporation registered to lobby the provincial and federal governments.

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    2. Councillors and Directors get a volunteer discount card, the same as other high-level volunteers like Service Commissioners. They may get small things like shirts; it really depends on the year. Every year, there is a Council training retreat which is paid for by Feds; this year's was two nights in Toronto.

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    3. Seriously? They went to Toronto to do training? What could there possibly be in Toronto that they didn't have here that related to how to be an effective Councillor?
      That seems like a huge load of bullshit, since there are 30 of them and it would have cost thousands of dollars for what could have been done in Waterloo.

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    4. 4c, it's not unusual for organizations to do retreats for the people involved in running them. It can also be regarded as a 'perk of the role' so to speak, which works as a future incentive for more people to run for it.

      That said, there are plenty of places in Waterloo they could have done a retreat - but I don't want to make assumptions. I believe they did the retreat before the start of the Spring term? Maybe a majority/plurality of the Councillors were on co-op in the Toronto/GTA area at the time? Or perhaps the VPED had to be in Toronto for something OUSA-related (he's the VP Finance of OUSA, and they're based in Toronto, so...).

      ...or perhaps they just had money to burn. I don't know.

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    5. It was done at the start of the Spring term. I think most of the Councillors were around in Waterloo, but if you get out of town, then everybody is forced to go out for dinner and hang with each other. No going home right after business is done.

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    6. ^Ah, that makes sense to me. It gets Councillors interacting with each other, which in turn makes for a more productive Council later on.
      Team building, I like it!

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    7. Too much herding and block-voting. Not enough cost savings and fee reductions. How much does this annual trip cost in total?

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    8. 4g, the budget is online - download the spreadsheet and open the "Council" tab (it might be called student government, or something like that). The number should be in there.

      I'm not a councillor, but I've been in enough committee roles before to know that there are times when retreats to strategize/team build are a really valuable thing. Especially when you consider how LITTLE respect last year's exec showed Council, it's good to see an Exec treating Council like they matter.

      Not to mention that doing something like this DOES make the role more attractive! And if there's one thing Council DESPERATELY needs, it's people running for it! 2013's Council was 100% acclaimed - that's not right.

      This isn't the McMaster Association of Part-Time Students. We don't have Execs using corporate funds to buy Board members trips to Italy, and then having the Board raise the President's salary to a 6-figure numbers. We just make sure the Councillor job has enough 'perks' to hold people's interest.

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    9. 4h, thanks for all your information. Will take a while to absorb it all. I didn't know the council vs board structure.

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    10. 4i glad I could be of some help!

      Regarding council vs board, I'm happy to elaborate (I recommend reading the Feds bylaws for full accurate details though):

      -Council: an elected oversight body.
      -Council: authority over Feds' policy stances.
      -Council: representatives are elected to represent constituencies pertaining to each faculty, and SJU. Also includes the exec.
      -Board: A fiduciary decision-making body.
      -Board: Authority over all corporate affairs, second only to the General Meeting and binding referenda.
      -Board: consists of all 4 exec, 2 councillors, and 5 at-large students who may-or-may-not be councillors, all elected to the board by the March General Meeting (except the exec, who are elected the same as councillors).
      -Board: directors bear legal liability for their decisions. Councillors do not.

      Happy absorption. :)

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  5. If Feds actually cared about what students want, the BoD would step up and change the bylaws to give Council some actual power.

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    1. pretty sure that anybody can change the bylaws since bylaws are changed at general meetings, so this is everybodys fault not just the boards

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    2. 5a, that's not true. While all bylaw changes have to be ratified at General Meetings, under the Ontario Corporations Act they have to be approved by the Board first.

      The process works like this:
      1) The Board makes bylaw changes (maybe changes that Board members think of, maybe changes that members submit to them, who knows?).
      2) The changes take effect immediately.
      3) The next General Meeting is asked to ratify those changes. If the changes are not ratified, then the bylaws revert back to the way they were before Step 1. Amendments to the changes are allowed as long as they are within the scope of the original changes.

      Bylaw changes are also one of those things for which due notice is always required, too.

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  6. So Council, which is basically a powerless joke, we're welcome to attend, but Board, where ALL the power is, and we have to stay away?

    http://www.uwimprint.ca/article/4355-feds-board-of-directors-closes-meetings

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    1. Ugh... I get why they did it, but I don't agree.

      While I don't think anyone should move to REPEAL that decision at the fall AGM per se, someone should absolutely ask the AGM or Council to work to establish some kind of transparency protocol for Feds. While I get that your average corporation has closed Board meetings, Feds just isn't your average corporation.

      They should take a leaf out of UW's book on this one. Its Board meetings ARE open to the public.

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    2. somebody should repeal this draconian bylaw. I for one will make that motion
      except it cant be made since the board controls the agendas for general meetings and they can choose which items go in it and which dont
      load of absolute bullshit, every single board member should be sued for that decision

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    3. 6b, the Board doesn't actually have that much power to set the General Meeting agenda.

      The actual change that was made in March, was made "notwithstanding the fact that the 2010 Ontario Not-For-Profit Corporations Act is not currently in effect." In other words, the Board is effectively agreeing to follow the guidlines of the incoming Act (to what extent it can without breaking current laws), regardless of the fact that the government isn't enforcing it yet.
      If you look at that act, you'll see it strictly limits what a Board can *deny* on the agenda. They're pretty strictly limited to blocking "motions that are literally against the law" and "motions to end the corporation." The actual text is more precise than that, but you see my point. Before the bylaw change, the Board could pretty much block whatever it deemed unsuitable - now it can't, as long as that motion is submitted BEFORE the submission deadline.
      The only exemption to that rule is motions to change the Feds bylaws - because under the CURRENT Corporations Act, the Board has to approve bylaws changes before they can go on a General Meeting agenda.

      But the rule that Board meetings are closed ISN'T a bylaw - it's a Board Procedure.

      My point is, moving to repeal it would be like taking an axe into an Operating Room. Use a scalpel instead - what Feds needs is a mandate to be more transparent, in several explicit ways. The General Meeting should be willing to give Council, and especially Board (who it elected in the first place) the leeway to decide on the explicit PATH to that transparency, since those are the bodies best equipped to do it. And if the General Meeting isn't satisfied with the way they pick, then they have the power to keep pushing.

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    4. 6b, it's also worth noting that, while the Board made the original decision to amend the bylaws in March to prevent motions being raised on the floor without notice (which they did on the advice of the Feds lawyer), the GENERAL MEETING ratified that decision - if they hadn't, it wouldn't have stuck.

      And you can't say "that was just Feds staff" because there are only about 30 Feds staff but there were 150+ people at that meeting.

      The minutes (which haven't been circulated yet) will have the exact numbers, but I believe it passed something like 75-70.

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    5. 6d it had to have been more than 75-70. Bylaw changes need 2/3 in favour in order to pass. Meaning most of the students in attendance voted *for* the changes.

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  7. Board meetings should be held and board decisions made without the GM present. Anything else is a conflict of interest and indicates a material lack of sound governance. The GM should attend only in the gallery among the general student body, if at all.

    Feds a Corporation? In legal description only, not by the benefits they purport to give.
    They are a bureaucracy that's out of control of the students paying for it. Corporations with closed meetings usually:
    a) are listed on a stock exchange and have a stock price to support. Their motivation is shareholder value.
    b) sell products with a market share to defend and grow. Could have trade-secrets for product development.
    c) have competitors that would erode their revenue base
    d) or are privately held and answerable to no one outside a handful of owners.

    It's a little rich to refer to themselves as a corporation in the usual sense. There's a lot of self-aggrandization where they place trappings on themselves. But they cherry-pick and what corporate traits they'll take on. True governance principles get set aside.

    The byline of feds.ca on some material is "your student union". Well, which is it, a corporation or a union? It can't be both. Unions are set up as a power balance to corporations. By feds pretending at being both, they occupy both sides of the negotiation and shut out everyone else. This misrepresentation must stop.

    Has anyone charted Feds fees over the decades? It looks set up like a runaway train. The final curtain was the closing of the board meetings, and lack of timely, detailed, accurate minutes. That was the train passing over the horizon with our money and out of sight.

    The way the Feds is structured, behind it all it looks like a money grab and a power grab by the GM role, with consolidation completed. The rest is just smoke and mirrors to hide this.

    As head of the bureaucracy, the GM gets rewarded through her pay. Her pay is set by the job level, set by the number and level of reports. So a bigger bureaucracy is in her best interest but not ours.

    The Feds charter makes no mention of a general manager existing, let alone exerting such control over its board.

    The first and only step towards rehabilitating the Feds is to dismantle the GM role and its power. This will take determined action. Benefits can be:
    - materially reduced Feds fees from decreased staff costs
    - actual representation of the students, job #1 from its 1967 Charter
    - true meaningful governance

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    1. 7, you have a few misconceptions here I'm going to try and set straight. But before I do, know that I do totally understand where you're coming from, and I do share (generally) the same sentiment.

      1) The GM does not really exert *any* influence over the Board. In fact, in my experience the GM doesn't usually attend most Board meetings. Even if she does, she doesn't have a vote - so usually it's just to advise the Board on a course of action based on the historical perspective that it's her job to provide.

      2) Strictly speaking, Feds (all student unions, for that matter) are classified by the provincial government and the CRA as not-for-profit corporations. Or to be more precise, "a corporation without share capital." There's a handful of extra restrictions that come with this, outlined in the Ontario Corporations Act. What makes student unions unique of course, is the fact that their membership is involuntary.

      3) The position of the General Manager is outlined pretty clearly in the Feds bylaws as one of the officers of the corporation. If you want documentation on the role, look there. It's pretty normal for student unions to have a similar position - in fact, I'm having a hard time thinking of one that doesn't. Admittedly, there is something to be said for having an accountant at the executive level, responsible for the organization's long-term record keeping.

      4) As much as it sucks that Board meetings were closed off, they're still more open than they used to be. They used to be completely closed off, until last year, when the Board realized there was nothing stopping them from opening them up. Now they're closed off, but the agenda/minutes are (theoretically) published. So that's... something.

      5) I have not confirmed this myself, but I have been told that the GM's severance pay would, at present, require Feds to go into some significant debt to the University.

      Anyway, change is possible, but difficult. You have to remember, each of the Feds staff are voting members at the AGM, and come out in droves to block any 'unstable' changes, in order to protect their own job security.
      At present, Feds would not be able to function without the GM. If you want the GM gone, then you first need to restructure it so that it can survive without her.

      Recommended reading (important for understanding how Feds operates - assuming you've already read the Charter):
      -Ontario Corporations Act (which Feds is legally beholden to);
      -Feds Bylaws;
      -Board Procedures;
      -UW HR Policies (to get a feel for how very, VERY difficult it is to remove a staff member).

      Then I recommend starting the conversation with councillors/directors/exec. The more support you can get on the inside to start change, the more likely you can start the process.

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    2. 7a I don't buy your post and that makes me question your motives. And I don't buy your advice.

      For example look at 2014 April-22-Board-of-Directors Meeting Minutes

      Expected Attendees to the Board Meeting included Suzanne Burdett, GM Feds.
      See page 2:
      Under General Orders,

      - start of minutes quote -
      9. Proposed Bylaw Amendments
      a. ...
      b. Resolved, the by-law section X.B be amended to strike, “The executive shall form the Executive Committee” and replace with “The Executive and the General Manager shall form the Executive Committee.”
      9b Motion: Garcia Seconded: Pozega, Unanimous
      Garcia: Common practice that GM is included in high level decisions
      McGinnis: Will that seem like execs reporting to GM
      Motion to amend (add in working for non voting member): McGinnis, Garcia, Unanimous
      - end of minutes quote -
      So the GM was included at the meeting where she got herself added to the Executive Committee, and could see who voted what way.

      McInnis was right, that does "seem like execs reporting to GM", because that's what's been transpiring.

      So cut the crap about the "GM does not really exert *any* influence over the Board".

      And no, I'm not going to waste my time talking privately with people on the inside who voted unanimously for the above. The conversation has started here and can continue here out in the open, where UW students can read it, where we can have our say.

      Each of us can decide who and what to believe. And I choose not to believe you.

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    3. 7b I'm sorry if you read my post as some kind of attack. I was just trying to offer some clarification.

      I was never suggesting that the GM doesn't *exert influence* over the Board. She ABSOLUTELY does. The Board is set up to RELY on the perspectives she provides, and the exec typically consult her on every issue.

      My only point is that she's not a VOTING member of Board. And when there isn't anything related to Feds finances/HR on the Board agenda, she typically doesn't attend the Board meetings. Usually because she's busy doing the accounting work that takes up the majority of her job. That's all.

      Also, regarding your other point - the exec and Board who made the decisions outline in the minutes you are quoting from, are no longer exec or directors. Since then the new exec, and new board, have come in and taken office.

      I totally respect the principle of 'keeping the discussion out in the open,' but the fact is that unless you can exercise some pragmatism and garner at least SOME support from SOME exec or at least the AT-LARGE Board members, the ability to instate any practical change is close to 0. The Board determines what goes on the agenda for General Meetings, and the bylaws prohibit new items being raised without notice at General Meetings (the last AGM voted that change through). And even if you do manage to get something through, there are enough Feds staff that, if the exec whip them up into a frenzy, they present a significant voting bloc AT the general meetings.

      So if you want discussion, then that's great, I'm all for it. But if you want change, you have to be willing to play politics a little.

      Delete
    4. For further clarification (7a/c here), regarding my motives, I'm just a student who HAS been involved with Feds in the past, and is currently working off-campus.

      But other than that statement (which I know you can't verify and have no reason to believe), you have no need to take my word for it on anything I've said... I'm pretty sure everything I've said so far can be independently verified, so go ahead and do that. :)

      Delete
    5. 7c, she doen't need any votes of her own if enough others' are effectively her proxies. People are just going through the motions.

      What are the chances of something she cares about not passing? Or of something she strongly does not want, to pass?

      Delete
    6. 7e, that all depends on how the 11 Board members feel about it. On some issues they'll have strong opinions of their own. On other issues, they'll trust her judgement. Different exec teams have different levels of internal agreement/disagreement with her, as well.

      From what I've seen, she doesn't usually have opinions on much outside of HR procedures and possible financial risks for Feds.

      Delete
  8. Speaking of the Council Meeting...

    Fall Reading Days!
    -The suggestion: push the start of o-week back by a day, eliminate the day off students normally get during o-week (currently Wednesday for some, Thursday for others), and start Fall classes early, on what is currently the Thursday/Friday of o-week. In exchange, we get 2 extra days off later in the term.

    It looks like Council wants to hold a referendum on this. What are your thoughts on the proposal?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I don't know ... (bites nails) ... what does Suzanne think?

      Delete
    2. 8a from what I can tell, she doesn't care, since it doesn't affect her job in any way, shape, or form.

      It's not even up to Feds to make the final decision. The calendar gets set by the UW Senate. The referendum result will just give Feds an official stance to advocate for at the Senate meeting in November, where the calendar gets set.

      Delete
    3. 8a, Suzanne says you can have your sandwich cut diagonally or vertically, but you'll be eating baloney.

      8b, exactly. I'd agree her motivation is understandably her job security and career.

      Delete
  9. The way Feds is set up now it's a department of UW. Anyone who thinks there's more autonomy than that is smoking something. Students on the BoD are puppets of the GM. Why pretend it's anything different?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The GM doesn't care about much beyond the business operations of Feds, and ensuring that everything Feds does is done with as little risk as possible. While this does cause problems in some areas, in *most* cases she has nothing to do with what Board decides - and the MAJORITY VOTE on the Board that are non-exec don't have any particular reason to listen to what the GM says, other than the whole "over a decade of experience" thing (which can admittedly be fairly persuasive).

      And no, Feds is not a department of UW. They have an Operating Agreement with UW, but that's different.

      Delete
    2. GM isn't the problem. The lawyer is. The Feds lawyer is a moron, and not-for-profit corporate law isn't even his field. He costs Feds a huge amount in annual legal expenses, and isn't even available on-call the way a real law firm would be. Usually he's just a tool the exec use when they want a 'statement from the lawyer' to prevent change (because he'll say whatever they tell him to).

      You want real change? Convince the directors to ditch him and put an actual law firm on retainer.

      Delete
    3. 9b they're both problems. Yes it beggars belief that the Feds allow UW admin's lawyers to advise them. It further supports that it's functionally a UW department.
      It's like following the advice of a counterparty's on-staff lawyer, and paying their tab. It's moronic of the Feds to do this.

      I agree with your idea to oust the UW lawyers, who really just represent UW the institution's interests. Do you know what their aggregate fees are out of either last year's actuals (around 750k?)or expected in this year's 882k budget?

      Delete
    4. Feds doesn't use UW's lawyers.

      Delete
    5. Thanks 9d, 12 also clarified this.

      Delete
    6. The University's lawyers are now mostly in-house in the Office of the Secretariat and General Counsel, which employs 4 lawyers. They are not lawyers full-time.

      The Secretary got about $187k last year; the others were all below the $100k floor. So it's pretty likely that the university's legal expenses are less than $500k/yr (the only way it would even come close is if they had to get external counsel involved).

      Delete
    7. Now that I think of it, most of the General Office budget in Feds isn't legal expenses (though legal expenses are included in General Office); it's the Feds Insurance Policy. That is to say, the cost of insuring everything Feds does, covering its employees' benefits, AND paying to insure all the Student Society events, as well.

      Delete
    8. AND all the club events AND bomber.

      If you haven't used either of those you're missing out.

      Delete
    9. 9h, I figured that was covered under "everything Feds does" which is why I didn't say it explicitly. :p

      Delete
  10. There's been some really good, open, civil discussion in this thread about Feds! I'm a recent graduate, but damn when I was around, I would've given ANYTHING for Feds to be more transparent, open, student-focused, and efficient. A strong student union focused on its members can make for an awesome campus life and a great student experience.
    So for those of you who are students now and would like to make that happen, let me be the one to say: it IS possible to change Feds, but it is NOT possible without effort.

    My best advice to you: get informed. Feds is filled with bureaucratic machinations, and unless you understand those machinations and how changes to them will affect the organization, changing anything in a way that will stick is unlikely to happen.

    Necessary Reading:

    A) The Ontario Corporations Act, under which Feds is broadly governed, and under whose authority it is incorporated. You don't have to know this one cover-to-cover, but figuring out the relevant sections and their subtleties is important, since it *will* get thrown at you.

    B) The Feds Charter, an Ontario Government document which creates and empowers Feds as an organization. Very broad, just be generally familiar with *what* it says.

    C) The Feds Bylaws, passed by the Board of Directors and ratified by the General Meeting under the authority of A, which dictate how the organization is governed at a high level. Be VERY familiar with these.

    D) The Board Procedures, created and maintained by the Board under the authority of C, which dictate Feds' general business practices, and how the Board itself operates. You'll want to be intimately familiar with these, too.

    E) Feds' Policies and Council Procedures. These are Feds' official beliefs/stances, as well as the procedures that dictate how everything under council (including clubs) operate. Be generally familiar with these, at least in principle.

    F) Feds' agreements with the University: The Operating Agreement, the SLC Lease, and the UW HR policies. This is critically important.

    All of the above can be found online.

    NEXT, get informed about how Feds ACTUALLY operates. Documents are one thing, but understand the nuances of the organization itself is critical. This means you'll have to actually interact with people. Talk to the exec and the staff. Get to know councillors and directors. Attend general meetings. Understand how the 'politics' works.

    All of this will take time. You might have to actually become an exec yourself before you can finally start to change the system. But change is possible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Friendly reminder that understanding the politics means knowing how to get the support you need to make your changes, from the places where support needs to be. You may have to be a pragmatist and dull some of your convictions to achieve SOME change (rather than NONE).

      Delete
    2. Sound advice, 10, thanks. We can post the short-form versions here for students who don't have the time to do that due to their significant study loads. They can then at least know what the issues are enough to talk with their friends.
      We do need people who are adept with the technical aspects and will solve the big key problem of the Feds being hijacked and not get diverted until they've achieved the traits you listed up top.

      Delete
  11. Feds is hosting an Open House this Wednesday. You can go and meet the General Manager one-on-one if you like, and ask her any questions you wish, or any of the other full-time staff.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd personally have nothing to say to her except congratulations, well played.

      For the Feds who abdicated to her the power she now has, they ought to be ashamed of themselves. But their job prospects were improved (closed meeting discussion) so I doubt they are.

      Delete
  12. 9c (I'm posting here because the reply button doesn't seem to be working for me), I'm afraid you are mistaken. Feds doesn't use UW's lawyers. They have their own lawyer, who has a practice based in Kitchener. Contrast this with UW, who has their own in-house counsel (the Secretariat).

    The problem Feds has with his lawyer is simply that he is a moron.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, I see. Thanks for clarifying. Well that should be easier to solve then. But if he's just a rubber stamp and they're willing to pay him a lot for him to do only that, then it sounds like everyone's happy in that transaction.

      Do you have any example of the kind of advice where the Feds could have received better advice than what he gave, and the students they're supposed to represent could have been better off?

      Delete
    2. 12a in July 2013 there was a General Meeting called to discuss a series of bylaw changes. Some Directors sought outside legal opinions on the amendments from corporate lawyers, who had generally good things to say.
      But then the exec got the Feds lawyer (who isn't a corporate lawyer) to write up a statement saying the revised bylaws would be illegal, and used that fact (as well as the fact that the Board back then was only 7 people, which means they only needed 1 person to agree with them in order to achieve a majority) to keep the proposal of the meeting agenda.
      Then at the actual meeting, they read a statement from the lawyer justifying the decision, that was different than the statement from the lawyer they'd presented at Board. The whole thing was a mess, and it led to some angry students using the meeting to try and remove those directors from the Board.

      The whole thing was petty, unprofessional, and decidedly silly.

      Delete
    3. I think I see what you mean. It's strange, including that the same lawyer would have two positions on the same topic, and that both would be used.

      I googled some of the terms you used and found this Iron Warrior article from July 2013 about that meeting. I don't know what if any biases are in the article, but there's a lot of detail in it and that's good. It looks well-written and researched. From the article I can see how you'd reach your conclusion and I'm willing to hold the same view.

      Delete
    4. Another good read on the July 2013 Feds immaturity. djbirnba's blog from that time:
      Engineering Society A Statements on the Federation of Students
      Does not look good on the Feds and I'm getting the opinion they've been wandering from their charter mandate for some time. Maybe they're stuck in some self-preservation huddle. Why wouldn't the GM smarten them up if she's supposed to be their sage?

      Delete
    5. 12d,

      TBH the GM seems to approach her job with the attitude that she's there "to keep the ship afloat while the 'kids' play at politics and management." I think she largely ignores the politics the exec creates, and spends more time worrying about Feds' financial risks. But it's hard to tell.

      Honestly, the particular shitshow that was the July 2013 General Meeting was really the fault of that year's Exec. They were a really fractured bunch, and they were constantly at odds with their own Board. The whole thing was toxic.

      From what I've heard, this year's exec is much more cohesive... but they're also largely "status quo" sorts of people.

      Delete
    6. "Status quo" who've actively signed-on to eroding students' charter-granted powers for months.

      Delete
    7. Oh 12f, do pray tell what 'powers' are being eroded by this exec? Considering the Chair of the Board (with whom lies the responsibility to interpret and enforce the Feds Bylaws and the Board procedures FOR the Board) is an at-large student, not an exec, your comment doesn't hold a lot of water with me.

      Delete
    8. 12g, erosion of the power to decide for themselves. See 7b.

      Delete
    9. Yeah, I thought 7b was full of it, too.

      Where, in anything 7b talked about, was student decision-making power eroded? Board exec isn't a body with 'power' - it's just a chance for the 4 exec to sit down and talk things over. Now with the General Manager around to consult, too.

      The highest day-to-day decision making body of Feds is still Board, which is a majority of councillors/at-large students, with the remaining minority being the student-elected exec. And it's Chaired by one of those at-large students.

      The sole body responsible for Feds Policy is still the student-elected Students' Council, which consists solely of... students.

      The most powerful body within Feds overall is the General Meeting, which ANY student (part-time or full-time) can attend and vote at.

      As far as day-to-day management goes, everything on a high-level is entirely overseen by the (again, student elected) exec, with the General Manager assisting only in terms of financial record-keeping/HR, and executed at the low-level (front-line) by student staff and student volunteers. The support staff are there to... support.

      Take a moment to actually OBSERVE how Feds operates, and you'll find that'll corroborate everything I've just said.

      So again, how has student power been eroded, exactly?

      Delete
    10. 12g, it should be said that the Chair of the Board is actually on council as well as a part-time staff (was full-time during the summer) working in the Feds bureaucracy

      Delete
    11. 12j, meh. He was working in Orientation, which already kinda functions separately from the rest of Feds (not least because it's funded by an entirely different revenue stream). The point is, unlike the exec, he is actually a full-time student, with a full-time course load. So what if he's worked in/is familiar with the Feds culture? If anything, that should allow him to do his job more effectively, since he'll understand the difference between expectation and reality.

      Delete
    12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
    13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
    14. 12m here again - sorry for the needless numbering. I totally didn't count before I wrote. :S

      Delete
  13. Feds is much like any organization with a consistent bureaucratic core and rapidly changing leaders (i.e. governments).

    The bureaucratic core is generally pretty competent and is looking out for the good of the organization. They occasionally get complacent, which is definitely an issue worth tackling when it happens, but for the most part, they keep on trucking and doing a good job.

    They are, however, averse to change, not because they're purely self-interetsed (although that is definitely a factor), but because they've seen it all before. Those with the thicker skins (Dave McDougall's an excellent example) have learned to roll with the punches, but the reality is that they often fight back because dumb shit happens when they don't. Look at FedsConnect. It was completely moronic. All the staff members hated it. Yet it had to be implemented because the Board of Directors got it in their heads that it was the way to solve things. A few years later, it was a complete flub (like everyone except the anonymous directors who voted it through could have told you at the start) and probably tens of thousands of dollars were lost in contracts which were useless.

    Additionally, there can be regime changes which completely throw out old plans. Look at all the effort (granted, a lot of it was volunteer work) which went into the new student building, and much of it was discarded when the new exec came into office last year. The experienced staff understand that the views of those in charge can change rapidly and occasionally without notice, so they are also seeking to ensure that any decisions that get made stay made. One way for them to do this is by challenging those decisions and forcing them to be scrutinized closely.

    tl;dr The staff are resistant to change because the eclectic Board and Exec need counterweights.

    P.S. I don't, however, understand why they get to vote.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Voting in a General Meeting I can understand, since the decisions made there often directly and explicitly impact there jobs; they don't need to vote in elections, someone should adjust the bylaws for that.

      Delete
    2. 13a, staff and the GM voting in a general meeting in particular is wrong, same as why employees don't get a vote at publicly traded companies' AGM's. The company does not exist for the good of the employees. Feds should vote exclusively for students' best interests, by students only.
      The current way is a big conflict of interest at the Feds and blocks good meaningful change.

      Delete
    3. Actually 13b, most publicly-traded corporations give their full-time staff members shares upon hiring these days. Turns out making them part-owners is a good incentive for them to do their best work.

      Don't get me wrong - the idealist in me sees where you're coming from. I could come up with some silly argument about how Feds full-time staff are entitled to take university courses (with their tuition covered by the university, no less!) and so can be seen as students that way... but that argument quickly falls apart since it applies to all university staff as well. So I won't go there.

      My inner (and outer) pragmatist, however, says that Feds staff voting at General Meetings is necessary. Forget about "blocking meaningful change," the fact is that a lot of stuff comes up at General Meetings which is really god damn stupid, and is either illegal, will get Feds into legal trouble, and/or will create very unstable positions for the people working there and compromise Feds' integrity as an employer (which will in turn put Feds into legal trouble... etc.). Honestly, the staff show up at General Meetings when they need to vote THAT crap down. Or they show up to make sure essential things (like the approval of the audit) get done.

      Somewhere along the line, several years of exec teams and councillors (not least of which the group that rewrote the bylaws that were approved at the General Meeting in March 2013), not to mention each of those subsequent General Meetings, deemed it necessary to define "Staff Membership" in Feds as a type of membership that allowed the full powers of participation in the corporation, minus the ability to stand for election to anything. TBH, it'd be tough to bring on good, qualified staff in departments that need it (like accounting) if that wasn't the case.

      Delete
    4. 13c, much of what you wrote is wrong. By paragraph,

      1.False: "most publicly-traded companies give their full-time staff members shares upon hiring". Back it up with a link to a survey or don't bother with this kind of outright falsehood. Or do you mean when they hire executives? You mean in the U.S., Canada, the world? You mean they're giving away shares to their admin assistants on hire? You mean stock purchase plans? Giving away shares on hiring are they, yeah right.

      2. False and annoying: you said you could come up with a silly argument, you make the silly argument, you point holes in your own argument, then you say you "won't go there" after you were just there.

      3. False: "Feds staff voting at General Meetings is necessary". No it isn't and it doesn't need to be. UW students are adults and we don't need to be saved from ourselves. Then you argue that if you couldn't vote you'd have to sue us? If illegal we can and have sought better indepedent counsel. I don't care about your job. Start your own union because Feds shouldn't be it. I'm sure students can approve an audit if the Feds' books actually should pass.

      4. False: "TBH, it'd be tough to bring on good, qualified staff in departments that need it (like accounting) if that wasn't the case". This could solved by hiring senior level UW accounting co-op students who could maintain procedures manuals and pass them on. Your spreadsheet looks easy and there are many able co-op students who'd do your job better. The more transparent the easier.

      You're 0 for 4 today but I'm sure you give students better advice at the general meetings, right?

      Delete
    5. 13d take Westjet for instance. Every employee of WestJet is a part-owner with shares, has been for some time now.

      Delete
    6. 13c here.

      lol 13d, I'm not Feds staff. I'm #10 - a recent graduate who dealt pretty heavily with Feds and its problems while I was around (I was never an exec or anything though).

      I'm just going to ignore your responses to items 1 and 2 there, since they're largely irrelevant to the context of this discussion anyway. But let's talk about 3 and 4.

      3 - "Feds staff voting at General Meetings is necessary." I believed I prefaced that with "My inner pragmatist is telling me ___." I wasn't stating this as fact, it was only ever my own personal opinion. Your ideals are all well and good, but I have seen WAY too much illegal crap go down at General Meetings (because the BoD's powers to restrict what goes on General Meeting agendas is VERY limited, and students submit whatever they damn well feel like to that agenda - without seeking counsel first) to believe that the 'bureaucratic core' of Feds doesn't play a necessary balancing role to 'filter out the crazy' from the meetings.
      If you took the staff out of the General Meetings, I'm fairly certain that it'd only be a matter of time before some stupid decision wound up creating a crisis that would escalate all the way to the courts, and waste a ton of student money in the process.

      It makes sense to have the people who know the organization best play a pivotal role in overseeing the directions the organization takes. I'm not saying students shouldn't be the ultimate drivers of this game - but you can't treat the staff - for whom Feds is literally a livelihood - like they're irrelevant and they don't exist.

      4 - Learn *something* about accounting before you make statements like that. The budget spreadsheet isn't something the accounting department makes (that role goes to the VPO and the Budget Committee - all students), it's just something they use. There are 4 or 5 CPAs working for Feds, the last I checked, and each of them is working on a daily basis to continually make sure Feds is completely GAAP-compliant. They deal with the cheque runs (of which Feds does more than UW), the CRA Audits (which happen regularly), and all the minutia required to make sure Feds keeps its not-for-profit status - including the oversight of the student societies, who due to their LACK of accounting ability, nearly cost Feds its not-for-profit status a few years back (which is why the Societies' Accountant was hired).

      Again, it's not that they couldn't stand to bring on accounting co-ops, instead of some of their staff like the accounting clerk who basically just prints cheques all day, but I'm dubious about even that, seeing how thinly spread they usually are during audit season.

      Aside from that, accounting was only one example of a department that actually does need qualified, full-time staff working for it. It is the best example though, so I'll stick with that.

      Please, before you make another statement, take my advice in post #10, and get informed about how Feds ACTUALLY operates. When you're fully informed, you can complain all you want, and (gasp) maybe actually work to change things!

      Delete
  14. I'm near-positive that at least somebody (probably a few somebodies) in this thread is a Councillor. Take this feedback and apply it. Recruit people. I dunno. This is one of the most engaged threads I've ever seen on OMGUW and I hope it's not just the usual suspects anonymously having the same old conversations nobody cares about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, I've just been having long, schizophrenic conversations with myself for the last 3 days. :)

      Kidding, kidding... but honestly I've been impressed by how engaged some of the responses here are, too.

      Delete
    2. Saying nobody cares is a way to stop conversation. Bias towards censorship. A lot of us care about lots of issues. Feds just doesn't talk about them and has become an irrelevant waste of what was our money.

      Delete
    3. 14b, I think you misread scshunt's post. Or misinterpreted it, at any rate. Never once did he suggest that nobody cares about the stuff being discussed in this thread.

      Delete
    4. I think I got him right. There's a lot we care about and talk about on this site and it's the best place we have for it. Feds would never put what we talk about on their agendas. Who's scshunt hoping isn't here? And what's he say nobody's interested in?

      Delete
    5. 14d, there's a small group of disgruntled old farts who tend to hang out on omguw and discuss nothing of any *real* substance. His point is simply "I hope this is actually a group of people getting genuinely engaged, and not just 2-3 'anti-establishment' jokers complaining about feds anonymously."

      For my money, this feels like real engagement, in a way not many discussions on OMGUW often do.

      Delete
    6. I don't necessarily mean that there's anti-engagement stuff. I'm just hoping that some of the discussions here are *new* people getting engaged, and not the people who are already engaged having conversations anonymously.

      Delete
    7. I keep trying to tell you I'm just one guy playing multiple roles, having long conversations with myself.

      Delete
    8. @14.d to get something on a council agenda all you need is one councillor to send an e-mail to the chair to include it in the agenda, all their e-mails are here : http://www.feds.ca/about/students-council/student-councillors/

      Delete
  15. Can we reverse-engineer the pieces in 2014's $882k general expenses that 3f gave?
    "... budget of 2.5m and general office budget of 882k, 35% of your spending is on salaries out of your control if those salaries are negotiated only by UW HR, up from 31% from last year's actual amounts."

    I think the Feds GM's 100k base salary would be higher by at least 30% for benefits.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Most of General Office is legal fees/insurance. Salaries are simply the remainder.

      Also, UW HR isn't the 'only' negotiator of salary. They work with the Feds Exec and GM to USG-rate each new full-time position (including contract renewals), but the exec are involved in the process.

      Feds doesn't *have* to use the University's pay scales. They could hire their own HR department, set up their own payroll, and put their own completely independent set of HR policies in place (assuming they raised the funds for that). Then they could gradually move their employees over to that system in a way that didn't break any federal or provincial laws.

      The problem is, you have to get back to the reason both groups use the same pay scales to begin with. Feds has an operating budget of $2.5 million. UW has an operating budget of $650 million. UW can always pay its employees more to do the same work they'd be doing in Feds. Poaching would run rampant. All the Feds staff would wind up working for the Student Success Office (who has a $4 million operating budget and pays its many staff a lot to do very little). So either we find a way to run Feds without staff (a lot harder than you might think), or we make do by paying them what the University does.

      Delete
    2. Poaching? hmm ... UW, please poach the Feds GM.

      Delete
    3. 15b without a bylaw amendment, Feds would just have to hire another one. The position is still rated as USG 13, regardless of who's in it (and actually, the number of levels of staff under Suzanne have increased in the years since that decision was made, and if you now compare her role to similar ones in the University, there are some grounds for saying it should be a USG 14 or 15).

      The problem right now isn't with the person herself, not by a longshot. I dare you to find a past exec team that didn't rely on her advice and assistance in order to survive their roles - especially early on. The problem is more with the power structure. The exec portfolios overlap A LOT more often than you might think, and because of that overlap, the staff don't always know who to look to for leadership - so they usually look to the GM for the day-to-day stuff. Over time, that creates problems for Feds as a student-focused organization.

      You're welcome to fantasize about getting rid o the GM, but Feds simply isn't equipped to stand without her... yet.

      Delete
    4. Divide and conquer? If her stated role is for less than her current reports, then move some from under her to report to elected students. That's who they work for. I'd hope they wouldn't it this as beneath them. If so that'd indicate a problem.

      Move some of her power out. Power-sharing can work both ways.

      I believe you about depending on her. That dependency perpetuates the problem. It also makes key person risk. If people can't survive in their roles early on, make training manuals. Staff can write what they learned in those first few days/weeks/months, where to find information, key contacts, how to do their own work. What Suzanne told them.

      This will help Feds equip themselves.

      Delete
    5. Every management-level staff in Feds (i.e. the people under Suzanne) already report to elected students. There is nobody who reports *just* to Suzanne.

      The staff structure in Feds was updated just over 2 years ago. I'm not sure what it was before it was updated (apparently it was a mess, at least that's what I've been told), but now every management-level staffer reports jointly to the appropriate exec (regarding all matters related to their job portfolio, strategy, etc.), and the General Manager (regarding HR matters, management issues, etc.).

      Your ideas about trying to better equip each new exec team aren't bad btw. Part of the problem is that exec transition has been informal and optional for so long. It was just last year that funds started being allotted in the budget for a formal transition program. I've even heard suggestions that the departing exec should stay on for 13 months, with the incoming exec expected to (for nominal compensation) spend that 13th month job-shadowing them, thus smoothing the transition process.
      As it stands now (from what I understand) the President and VPOF learn most of their jobs from the GM, the VPIN learns most of his/her job from a combo of the GM and the Campus Life Director, while the VPED just sort of... figures things out (because apparently "wing it" is the only way to learn how to lobby MPs correctly?). That process is flawed.

      Delete
    6. Yeah they can just make a training binder for each role. Print out some key emails from when the last guy got set up and jam them in there. Have the newbie read through it on their first day and get themselves set up.

      13 months sounds like an elephant's pregnancy, a little much.

      That matrix reporting structure sounds lop-sided, with everyone reporting to any one of a column of students, but only one GM along the whole other row. I'm sure some staff could exclusively report to the student execs.

      From what I'm reading on other OMG's Suzanne only does accounting anyway, or are they kidding?

      If there are dual reports, would they all count towards a higher USG, or do they count as half?

      Delete
    7. 15f, full job description is here. Make of it what you will.

      It's worth noting that other positions - like the Director of the Student Success Office - have less overall responsibilities, yet are paid at a higher USG level.

      http://www.hr.uwaterloo.ca/.jd/00002388.html

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