It is difficult to believe that we have reached mid April so quickly. Still as the days gradually lengthen and the temperatures continue to rise it is not difficult to imagine that summer will soon be visiting us again – – hopefully for a very long warm stay.
Shortly after my last President’s Perspective in February the investigative report into the YusApuY election protest was released with the independent investigator concluding that there were no breaches of the Constitution or the Elections Policy that affected the outcome of the election of the 2017 officers.
Almost immediately after the report was sent out to the membership the YusApuY office, the full time officers as well as other Executive Board members heard from members regarding the $28,282.21 cost of the report. In a general summation, the members could not understand how the cost was so great.
When looking at the cost there are a number of elements that need to be taken into consideration:
– The number of actual allegations made by the protesters was greater than the ten specific ones that were dealt with in the report and each one had to be investigated. In my interview with the investigator I was asked specific questions regarding other allegations that were outside of the ten specific ones that the report addressed.
– The investigator did devote a considerable amount of time to ensure that the investigation was done correctly and was complete.
– There is a cost associated with hiring an experienced individual whose work is highly respected within the legal community. Obtaining the services of this type of individual is never an inexpensive undertaking.
– The investigator actually lowered her normal hourly rate for this investigation and reduced the actual cost of the investigation further at the end. If the investigator had charged YusApuY her normal hourly rate and did not reduce the actual cost even further before submitting her invoice the cost of the report would have been much greater.
Still the $28,282.21 will not be the final cost of the investigation. Since this was the first election protest in the history of YusApuY, the 2016 and 2017 Executive Boards also engaged the services of one of YusApuY’s lawyers for direction and guidance. To date the legal costs directly attributed toward the election protest is $6,788.57.
The investigator made a number of recommendations in her report based on requests by, “the Protestors, the two full-time officers, the Chair of the Nominations Committee and the Chair of Constitution and Policy”. (Please see page 17 of the report.) The Executive Board accepted all of the recommendations and as YusApuY moves forward with the implementation of those recommendations there will no doubt be further legal costs incurred.
In late February York University Provost Dr. Rhonda Lenton was appointed as the next President of York University by the York University Board of Governors. When the search for the new President first began and continuing till the announcement was made the Cross-Campus Alliance (a group comprised of representatives from all of the main employee associations as well as student federations at York which YusApuY is a member of) expressed their serious concern with the search process as it, in our view, lacked meaningful consultation with the York community.
I believe it is important to reiterate that YusApuY’s main concern was not the selection of Dr. Lenton as the next President of York University but the Board of Governor’s selection process. We congratulate Dr. Lenton on her appointment and look forward to working with her for the benefit of the entire York Community.
In my first President’s Perspective in January I spoke about YusApuY ‘s desire to have a meeting space closer to the central part of the campus. Our present location on the outskirts of the Keele campus is not the most convenient location for the majority of the membership. I knew there would be hurdles to overcome in gaining access to a more central location on a weekly basis, still I never believed that York would be so totally uncooperative and absolutely refuse to aid us in any manner. Their behaviour left us believing that York was afraid of YusApuY moving any closer to its members.
Still, where there is a will there is a way. The Graduate Students Association has agreed to allow us to use their conference room space in York Lanes once a week till the end of June. More details will be provided to the membership shortly.
I have still not given up trying to find a more permanent location so that the membership will be able to meet with YusApuY officials closer to their workplaces on a weekly basis.
At the Keele Budget meeting on March 29th a number of members expressed serious concerns that the Budget’s Office – Furniture (line 56 on the Budget Report) actuals in the 2016 Budget Report had surpassed the projections by a total of 54.8% and demanded to know why. These individuals requested that I investigate and report my findings back to the entire membership.
To date I can report that I have found no signed contracts, only invoices, for the furniture that was purchased. The vendor who supplied the bulk of the furniture was contacted and he confirmed that no contracts between his company and YusApuY had been signed. As well, we have not been able to locate any warranties for the furniture that was purchased. The vendor indicated in our conversations that he would forward the warranties asap but to date we have not received them.
The next step in the investigation will be the examination of the 2016 Executive Board meeting minutes to review the discussions that took place and motions that were passed in regards to the purchase of the furniture and why the proposed furniture budget line was exceeded to the degree that it was.
I will keep you updated.
York University Staff Association/Association Du Personnel De l’Universite York