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Updated on Saturday, October 18

#19962

OMG: A lot of these 'in progress' items had better become checkmarks before the next Feds election...
http://uwimprint.ca/uploads/2014/10/fedsmidtermreportpdfcopy.jpg

52 comments

  1. Yeah, not impressed by the lack of outreach from the Executives...

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    1. This exec seems to think that 'outreach' means 'being social.' So they get out of their offices, go to events, and talk to students about their lives.

      Big whoop.

      All we actually get for it is an exec who don't know how to cut through Feds' own bureaucracy and force the staff members there to actually DO something for a change. An exec who sees nothing wrong with closing off meetings of the corporation's highest decision-making body. An exec who tries to curb the communication abilities of democratically elected bodies like Students' Council.

      It's disgusting. This exec is destroying Feds.

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    2. I agree with you, 1a. Even still, their attempts are outreach are frivolous. They attend very few events and when they do, it seems uncomfortable for anyone to approach or talk to them. They pick and choose what's important to them and neglect all of the other groups who could benefit from the Exec giving a fuck.

      Additionally, it's frustrating that you only know the Executive but not the staff members who work behind the scenes. There are a shit-ton of people behind Feds - but I barely know any of them. At times (through past work), it's been difficult to even see what these staff members do or even if they do much of anything. It'd be incredibly beneficial if we had an idea of what staff member's jobs are and their yearly goals instead of just hearing from the students we elect. We fund all of the employees, not just the elected ones.

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    3. Yes 1b, if only they had an open house every term to let you know what the staff do for you. Oh wait.. they do that. Dumbfuck. Bitching because you don't pay attention isn't the same as bitching because someone actually does nothing.

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    4. I'd like to see the majority of the staff roles justified clearly. I'm willing to bet a solid 30% of them could be replaced with coop and part-time students without a loss of competency.

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    5. It's funny you mention that 1c because I've been to both Open Houses and have actively volunteered for Feds. I'm aware of the roles but this was only BECAUSE I was a part of Feds and ACTIVELY tried to figure out what everyone's role was. There are tons of people who volunteer for Feds who have no fucking clue what goes on (on top of the average student). In addition, there are paid full-time employees whose jobs could easily be replaced by the system 1d is proposing. I don't see justification for a full-time employee who barely helps anyone.

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  2. Stephen Harper runs a more transparent government than this executive does.

    ...and at least THAT government actually DOES stuff! The Feds Exec get mired in *activity* without making any actual *progress*.

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  3. Who wants to get a Recall Referendum going, and kick these exec out of office now instead of waiting for May?

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    1. How can we do this? I want to do this really badly, just start it all fresh. God, we need new people in there

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    2. This can be done by:

      1 A requisition in writing of either twenty-nine hundred (2900) voting members or at least ten percent (10%) of the voting members of the Corporation, whichever is fewer;
      2 A General Meeting;
      3 Students' Council;
      4 The President; or
      5 The Board of Directors.

      New items can't be added to the agenda of a General Meeting because of a bylaw that the Board of Directors put in place last year in March, so this could only be done at the next GM in March 2015, which is too late.

      Students Council would never do this. Nor the President. Nor the Board.

      So the first, that is getting 2900 signatures, is the only option.

      Good luck with that, asshole.

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    3. 3b, not quite right. A Referendum for Recall is different than a regular referendum. From the Feds Bylaws:

      "A referendum for recall of an Executive or Student Councillor may be initiated only by a requisition signed by at least ten percent (10%) of the voting members of the respective constituency, specifying a specific Executive or Student Councillor to recall. A referendum for recall does not pass unless the number of votes in favour of the referendum is at least the number of votes cast for that Executive or Student Councillor in the most recent election, the rest of these by- laws notwithstanding."

      So get enough signatures (3000 isn't as hard as you might think) and we can make this happen.

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    4. that would be tough to get more votes than were cast... do you really think that is possible?

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    5. Most definitely. There weren't that many votes cast for the exec in the last general election.

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    6. how will we do this? one referendum for all of them, or four separate referendums for each?

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    7. I don't get what you guys hope to achieve by this. What kind of new exec do you want? What are you unhappy about?

      Genuinely curious. I don't know a lot about FedS.

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    8. 3f, you don't need to get 3000 signatures four times, if that's what you mean.

      A single request for four separate referenda, to be held simultaneously is fine. Then the elections officer strikes yes and no committees, who campaign. On the voting days, people go online and vote 'yes' or 'no' on each question.

      3g - everyone has different motivations, but personally I'd just like an exec who actually accomplish something, instead of simply TALKING about the things they've theoretically done, while mostly all they've really done is administrative crap.

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    9. We want exec that accomplish the goals they set out. Is that too much to ask for? Do you get that this article shows our Executive team to have done almost nothing so far? Shit, two of them HAVEN'T accomplished any of the goals they set out.

      This would send a message to current and future student leaders on campus. We want progress. And these Executive are not progressing. We need to get rid of them.

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    10. 3c, 3d, 3e, all that you need to do to get signatures is work in big groups. Get 10 people to help (I am sure that won't be hard to find 10 people who are pissed off with the Feds Exec for being useless) and they each get 290 signatures. That REALLY is not that many. That could be done in less than a week, if all you did was ask students in your classes to sign it. This must happen, and it must happen soon.

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    11. How many of the objectives were realistic within 5 months, whether we like it or not most seem like projects that would take the whole year. Also, we should read the writing instead of looking at the colours. Ben's 2nd one still has 4 months and there is clear progress, Ben's 3rd one seems like it's actually almost done and it is still fall 2014, Ben's 4th one while given to Danielle seems like it is almost done judging by the imprint article. Stephane's first and fifth ones seem like ongoing projects and should probably have a check mark at the end of the year, there was a presentation in my class about voting. The referendum one seems a bit weird that it has a red x there is a referendum it's just a bit behind schedule, not great but it isn't bad. Support for housing seems like it won't happen by the end of the year though. For Maaz's 4th the arcade was pretty kick ass, I'm not really sure what the difference between an advocacy director and a service coordinator is, but it can't be that bad that he switched. Danielle seems to have set herself really stiff timelines, but especially the 3rd one seems to be the university's fault, her 1st one is also done.

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    12. Suggesting that the Exec has done nothing because they have only a fraction of their specific goals completed it a ridiculous statement. Those are just the goals they set out before they even took office, before knowing how to actually accomplish any of those things! Now they are starting to figure it all out and getting things done. ON TOP OF THAT they have been doing a myriad of other events, meetings, day-to-day bullshit and listening to fuckheads like you. It is more than enough and is comparable to every other year. Execs do what they can and move on. You would do the exact same thing if you were in there. Good thing you are not, anonymous voice on the internets.. because you clearly have no clue. If you want to make a change, run in the next election and see if you can do better.

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    13. 3l, that's the problem. I don't want the exec to be bogged down with the day-to-day bullshit. Any administrator can do that. Why have elected exec then? Clearly, we could just hire our exec, and get the same result!

      We elect them on a mandate to achieve the goals they set out when they run. It is their job to echo our voice at the highest level of Feds. THEY represent the empowerment of student opinion, while the hum-drum day-to-day management of the corporation falls to the paid staff (like the GM). Fulfilling their mandate should - must - be their highest priority.

      The problem here isn't that the exec have only accomplished a PORTION of what they promised to do. It's that they've accomplished NOTHING in many cases - and many other promises they haven't even made ANY progress on!

      That'd be fine 3 months in - but halfway through their mandate? Unacceptable.

      I don't want 4 more BUREAUCRATS in Feds, I want STUDENT LEADERSHIP.

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  4. Hey its Maaz here..your Feds VP Internal. There's clearly a lot of feedback about how we can do things differently. Our job is to listen to this feedback from you, the students, and do what's best for you. Our offices are open for you to come and voice any feedback or concerns. If you don't want to come in, you can also send us an email. If your biggest concern is Board meetings being closed, come to the GM on Wednesday where you can vote on the motion about opening Board meetings to students. Bottom line is, we are open to hearing and acting upon constructive feedback from our 30,000 student bosses. Our office hours are posted on the Feds website, looking forward to talking to you.

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    1. Always good to hear from one of the 2 exec who's at least gotten SOMETHING done in the last 6 months.

      ...BTW, having your offices open doesn't make you more transparent, when the average student doesn't even know where those offices are or how to get to them. Hell, the average student doesn't go to the SLC....

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    2. Maaz, what do you have to say about your President trying to muzzle our elected Council and send all communications through her office?

      Feds: Here for its administrators, not the students.

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    3. *facepalm*

      You're missing the point, Maaz. This isn't about "how can you do things better," it's about "how about you start doing what you said you'd do?"

      There shouldn't be any 'no progress' items on that list. The 'in progress' stuff should have clear anticipated completion dates, and the 'overdue' stuff should at least be on track to a concrete completion. I mean hell, you're more than halfway through your time in office, and you've all basically DONE nothing!
      One of Ben's 'overdue' items actually ends by saying 'passed off to department heads.' WTF is that - he can't oversee his own platform promise?!

      We're tired of execs who serve only as bureaucratic administrators, creating 'activity.' We don't want 'activity,' we want actual *progress.*

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    4. Before you bitch about the exec 4c, why not take a moment to learn how life works? You obviously have no clue how much time things take to get accomplished. If you think you can do better, run in the next election, show your face and get elected. Then we can all bitch about your progress.

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    5. 4c here.

      I love Feds. Honestly! I think they do some great things as an organization, and are one of the strongest forces for student interests on this campus.

      I have also had exec I really admired. Andrew Noble, for instance, accomplished some really impressive stuff - even if his biggest accomplishments were multi-year projects that his successors decided to scrap (booo). Natasha Pozega is another good example - even if she was saddled with the issues of all of her other exec.

      I respect the fact that these aren't easy roles to do, and that there's a steep learning curve. But, quite frankly, that's what they Spring Term is for.

      It is not the execs' jobs to be bureaucrats. For that, we have the General Manager and her cronies. You could take the exec out of Feds completely, and the organization would (more or less) continue on its own inertia without issue. We DON'T elect four exec to help it do that, we elect exec to make tough decisions, and impose actual change and policy on that bureaucracy.

      With half of their term of office gone, this exec have failed to do any of the things they were elected to do. They've been whipped and housetrained by the staff bureaucracy, and are afraid of butting heads with the General Manager in the name of student interests.

      That's the problem.

      And don't tell me that 'if I don't like it I should stand for election.' Have you seen the way election candidates get trashed on websites like this? It's absolutely horrendous.

      Besides, I have the right to demand better from the people I elect, and to demand that my representatives on Council hold those people accountable for their broken promises.

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    6. No way would council try to hold these people accountable, they aren't even accountable themselves. The council of Feds is an absolute joke, none of them accomplish anything

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    7. 4f, that's partly (mostly) because Council as it is now IS a powerless joke. The Exec and the Board have no obligation to run anything past Council prior to enactment, Council doesn't have the power to communicate on behalf of Feds, and while they theoretically have some say over the Feds policies, there's no clear determination in the bylaws regarding what 'policy' actually means, or how binding it is on members/employees of the corporation.

      Then there's the fact that a 2/3 majority of Board can amend any part of the bylaws at any time - including the part governing Council powers. The only thing that would change this is if the bylaws were amended to say something like "the Board irrevocably empowers Council to ______," which would create a section only changeable by a General Meeting.

      If Council becomes relevant, people will care what it does. It people care, then Councillors will be accountable to the people they represent. This in turn will allow them to effectively hold the exec accountable.

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. With regards to the Communications policy, it will be discussed at the Council meeting tomorrow. Council will have the full power to amend it, vote for it, or against it as they see fit. The Council meeting will be live streamed on live.feds.ca. With regards to progress. I fully agree that cutting through bureaucracy and random 'activity' is very important. A lot of tangible things have been done in all our portfolios in the last 6 months in relation to our election platform. If it helps, I can release a detailed update that expands on the Imprint article and compares each election platform point of mine with tangible things I've done. Hopefully this would provide more insight.

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    2. OP here.

      This sounds like an honest, measured response to me. You should do that, Maaz - it'd be good to see what's been done from your perspective.

      The other exec should do the same.

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  6. The problem isn't the exec, it's the system they're powerless to change.

    We need radical change in Feds in order to get it working for students again. That is to say, an exec who are willing to:

    1) Reduce the size of the Feds support staff by at least 1/3, replacing redundant positions with co-op and part-time student staff, as well as additional responsibilities for managers;

    2) Avoid allowing point 1 to overburden managers by cutting away unnecessary bureaucratic activities (i.e. ensuring that a day's work results in ACHIEVEMENT, rather than just ACTIVITY);

    3) Demand greater efficiency from all departments by cutting the Feds membership fee by at least 10%;

    4) Putting power back in the hands of students by redesigning the staff and executive structure of Feds to reduce the influence of the General Manager.

    ...And that's just a start. Once that process is complete, Feds can begin to optimize itself to serve actual student needs, led by our elected executive and student Board of Directors - rather than a bunch of overpaid bureaucrats.

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    1. 6, I'd add that we also need a strong and decisive Board, that's willing to set priorities and make targeted cuts to specific parts of particular services.

      Feds can't be everything to everyone. It can't just serve the student interest. It has to serve the BEST INTERESTS of students. And those interests must be determined by us through elections - not by the staff through their years of "expertise."

      I've known staff who have turned down proposals because it'd be 'too much work for them' even though they've had legions of willing volunteers who would handle the work - if the staff were willing to trust those volunteers (which they're not).

      Feds has been completely unwilling to take *any* risks for years now, and it's causing the organization to stagnate.

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    2. 6, you have it all wrong. If you want the Feds exec to make change, then you need to INCREASE the Feds Fee to ensure it can get done. UW pays one of the lowest student union fees in the country. Pay more, get more. Also, if you think putting co-ops and part-time in place of staff makes sense, you have no clue how companies work. Who will supervise and ensure they do the work necessary to ensure compliance with Rev Canada and UW? Guess who, full-time staff. Hiring part-timers with no vested interest and co-ops who have to be trained every 4 months makes no sense. Essentially by doing what you suggest, you can expect less to get done and more and more red tape. Keep the staff number the same but perhaps rearrange a bit to ensure efficiencies, increase the fee to ensure action and then you will be able to ensure the Exec can implement change.

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    3. 6b, your suggestion assumes Feds spends its money efficiently, which is simply ludicrous. If you can affirm that each student dollar is going as far as it possibly can go, and that the ONLY way to improve services is to tax cash-strapped students even further, then maybe I'd accept what you're saying. But I've been involved enough with Feds (I've even had some minor expense authorities before) to know that if I went to *most* departments and said "you know that thing you're doing with $2000? Do it with $1800 instead," they'd whine and complain, but then THEY'D DO IT, because they can. It's the nature of staff in this kind of sector - they don't make cuts or find efficiencies beyond the ones they're forced to.

      I'm not suggesting we replace the accountants with co-op students. That's silly (though yes, I think some of the low-level clerks could be replaced with AFM part-timers). But do we really need TWO full-time special events coordinators (why not one 8-month co-op)? Do we really need a Clubs Manager (a couple part-time work study students or a single co-op could do that job, with some work offloaded to the Campus Life Director)?

      Rearrangement alone doesn't improve efficiency. Rearrangement alone doesn't save any money. Feds needs a radical shift from STAFF FOCUS on to STUDENT FOCUS if it wants to improve.

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    4. Throwing money at every department and allowing them to request huge increases every year solves nothing. The Board needs to reduce the total amount of money available, then make targeted cuts and efficiency demands in order to set effective priorities for a change. The first year will be tough, but as departments improve the efficiency of their operations, their budgets can be increased accordingly in order to expand service.

      Of course, if the credit card motion passes and Feds loses $15000 in revenue, this may happen all on its own. But I doubt it.

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    5. In a private-sector business that relies on the sale of product and the trading of shares to survive, staff and managers can measure their success by their profits and company growth.

      In a business like Feds, funded through involuntary fees, staff measure their success through the increase in the amount of money and people they have authority over.

      These increases are not always in the best interests of students. More money for Feds =/= more service for everyone. Half the time a fee increase just goes towards the salary of some new "does dick all for 35 hours a week on a guaranteed 5-year contract with full benefits" staff member who doesn't even interact with students - or care about them.

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    6. 6c, you have clearly shown that you know nothing about how any company is run. Feds has over 150 active clubs that require assistance. I volunteer for Feds and I have watched the parade of students that goes through the Clubs office. In fact, the Clubs Manager now has a support team to help alleviate some of the work. Many other departments have the same amount of student involvment. In fact, both event coordinators coordinate student teams who are involved from planning to implementation. Providing leadership opportunities for students is a major part of the Feds mandate and they seem to get it right a lot of the time. I am proof of that too. But you know how that gets done? Staff. They are there for us and provide navigation through the muddy University waters and generally are able to accomplish most of the tasks that we cannot do because we are students FIRST. Can a department do a project with $200 less, sure, but it will also be just that much less. Why would you think that doing more with less makes any sense? Doing more with more is what Feds needs.

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    7. 6f, most of what the Clubs Manager does is easily trainable. This work could be done by a full-time 4-month coop. The training period would last a couple weeks (and that's fine since the Campus Life Director - easily Feds' most experienced expert - is RIGHT THERE anyway and spends *most* of his time just chatting with students), and then the student would be set. They could even have the support of part-time assistants, though I suspect that would actually be unnecessary. There is a lot of frustrating (and fundamentally pointless) bureaucracy surrounding club management, and the bulk of that could be stripped away or put in the hands of the clubs themselves without the world collapsing down around anybody. Would the process be slightly less consistent and detailed than it is now? Yes, probably. But for all that it wouldn't do any harm.

      If you can do the same work just as well for 10% less, then that extra 10% you're spending is basically just wasted money. Feds is in that position right now. Everything from the way it budgets, to the way it handles expenses, to the way it assigns staff, winds up costing more money than is necessary.

      I'm not suggesting Feds do more with less, I'm suggesting they get their act together, set priorities, and do the same with less, BEFORE they insist on 'doing more with more.' Until every student dollar is bringing as much return on investment as possible, that is money that BELONGS to the CASH-STRAPPED students who need it... and it will be better served back in their pockets.

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    8. It's so easy to demand more money when you're not the one who's footing the bill. Feds should be saving students money, and empowering them to lead within the organization.

      Minimize the number of administrators and leave them to fend off the University's bureaucracy.

      We don't want overpaid bureaucrats to administrate crap with our hard-earned Feds fees, we want students to lead with them. Cut Feds down to size.

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    9. Like all governments, Feds has an obligation (which it is currently failing to meet... like most governments) to do as much for us as possible, with as little of our money as possible, in such a way determined through representative governance (read: exec and Council). Only once it is doing that can it request more money from us in order to do more.

      I think the Feds staff are good people, but they're understandably going to think about their own job security and career advancement before they think about what's actually best for students. They're only human, after all.

      I'm fine with staff managing the administrative process... but the focus must be on the students. The power must reside with the students. There must be students making key decisions at every level within Feds. Otherwise it's no better than the University, which acts to serve itself first.

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  7. Here's one for the VPOF:

    Cheques.

    Why is it that every cheque is HAND-SIGNED by two of the President, the VPOF, and the GM? Why, like other similarly-sized corporations, is Feds unable to print valid cheques with a facimile (SP... sorry) signatures affixed to it? Surely by the time the cheque arrives on their desks, it's already been through layers upon layers of bureaucracy squaring with the Feds budget, the accounting department, the department heads, etc.

    I have had to wait up to 3 months for reimbursements from Feds before. I have had cheques about to be signed, then the President goes on holiday for a week and leaves the unsigned cheques at home. AND I gather the signing process is very time-consuming. Why not eliminate this piece of needlessly wasted time?

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    1. I completely agree. In many cases, if you're a volunteer or in a leadership role under a staff member, they sign your cheques instead.

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    2. 7a, you mean outside of Feds, right? Because the GM, Pres, and VPOF are the only ones who can sign Feds' cheques.

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    3. Simple. Revenue Canada requires it as part of the banking system.

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    4. 7c that doesn't explain why the University can print cheques with it's admins' signatures digitally affixed, while Feds can't.

      Most large corporations I've seen aren't printing cheques that get hand-signed by the CEO, or even the head of the accounting department. The signatures get affixed at the printing stage.

      ...So why can't Feds do it?

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    5. The cost to do that each year makes no sense as it is an expensive thing.

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    6. 7e, explain how/why it is more expensive than cheques being hand-signed? I would think the benefits (the MANY people requesting reimbursements getting them much faster, the significant amount of time freed up for the exec to actually do their jobs instead of wasting time signing hundreds of weekly cheques) far outweigh the financial costs.

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  8. I want the Feds exec to have backbone for a change. Not just the appearance of backbone ("oh look, we fought the university on Fed Hall and got management of the SLC as compensation!"), but willingness to fight against the natural inertia of its own bureaucracy.

    I want my exec to take the lead and make hard choices, and a board that isn't afraid to make targeted cuts in the name of putting money back into students' pockets. I want student leaders who aim to create a leaner, more efficient student union, who's services - though maybe slightly less broad-based - pack a sharper punch in their delivery.

    ...But maybe that wish is too much to hope for.

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  9. My favourite sentence in that: "Of her 26 promises the only area reflected in the action plan is mental health." I mean really? And she still can't do her action plan?

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  10. One thing I have learned from my time here.. the students always vote to ensure wackjobs like the many people in this thread never get in power. 7 people complaining loudly is still 7 people. The VAST MAJORITY of students generally don't give a shit as long as nobody is stealing from them. There are a slightly larger group than the 7 wackjobs that actually care, and thankfully, because of them none of this bullshit matters.

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