SGA weighs increasing their pay and who controls it



SGA Treasurer Taylor Gauthier, a junior, speaks during an SGA meeting, Oct. 8. A resolution granting the power to increase stipends to the business manager will be voted on next week.

Zoe Stern, Cynic News Reporter

SGA is weighing the possibility of handing over the power of determining how much members get paid to a UVM employee.

A proposed SGA resolution would allow their professional business manager, Blanka Caha, to increase student stipends, as opposed to retaining that power within SGA.

The only stipend members of SGA are the president, vice president and chairs.

In a statement prepared by Caha, but read by SGA Treasurer Taylor Gauthier, a junior, at an Oct. 8 SGA meeting, Caha said she supported increased pay due to the increased workload of the executive members.

Currently, the president and vice president make $275 a week. The proposed increase would bring that to $300 a week. The treasuer currently makes $300 a week and a proposed increase would bring that amount to $320.

Chairs of senate committees currently are paid $88 a week, but it has been proposed to bring that to $100 a week.

Giving Caha authority keeps the process unbiased, Gauthier stated in a Oct. 8 email.

SGA President Jillian Scannell, a senior, said it also helps for the future.

“How can we come up with a solution, so that future senates don’t have to deal with this,”  Scannell said. “Because it’s going to come back up in however many years.”

However, a future SGA could vote to change this in the years to come, as each year the senate has the power to reverse past legislation.

The resolution was introduced by the Finance Committee chair, senior Olivia Machanic.

“We believe that allocating the stipend adjustments to the SGA business manager will allow for changes to be made on an annual basis, and they can ensure that no funds will be taken from the pool for UVM clubs and organizations,” Machanic stated in an Oct. 13 email.

The stipends for SGA members haven’t been changed in five to seven years according to the email.   

Comparative schools pay their executive teams hourly, while UVM’s executive team is paid on a stipend, the email stated.

Paying hourly wages instead of stipends is harder to do, due to Human Resources and payment systems, Scannell said.

“Stipends are included in the SGA budget,” the email stated. “There is wiggle room in this budget for matters such as these.”

Not all members of SGA support giving away the power, junior Jacob Weinstein, a senator on the Committee on the Environment, said.

“I don’t know if I support that Blanka should decide the stipends for executive and chairs,” Weinstein said. “Because it just rubs me the wrong way to not have the representative of student body decide how much our student leaders get paid.”

Weinstein said he has heard mixed reviews from other senators.

Some are more upset about it than others, he said.

“As much as I love Blanka, no one elected her and I don’t know if I want to give up that voting power that I have,” Weinstein said.   

A resolution is expected to be up for a vote at the Oct. 15 SGA meeting.