The changing of the guard at the Arts and Science Federations of Associations took a slightly rough turn in May when a salary conflict arose about overtime pay requested by office manager and financial comptroller Naomi Taylor.
Taylor took a legitimate extended leave of absence last month due to illness and ASFA only pays for five sick days. However, Taylor requested that the she be paid $3,262 that she claimed she was owed in overtime that she had accumulated over four months and many ASFA members felt ethically that she should be paid for her medical leave of absence as well.
ASFA’s financial committee debated the issue but couldn’t come to a conclusion so the issue was addressed at the last regular council meeting on May 13. Once again, however, the issue was left unresolved as outgoing ASFA President Leah Del Vecchio followed protocol and said they did not legally have to pay her, according to incoming president Aaron Green.
Debate on the issue caused the meeting to draw on until 2:30 a.m. and while many councillors felt she earned the money, Green said that others argued “it would “set a dangerous precedent’ in allowing ASFA employees to incur overtime.”
The issue was finally resolved in a Special Council Meeting on May 20 which saw the Council vote to pay Taylor for her leave of absence in May and award her the overtime pay.
“The reasoning behind this decision was that ASFA council believed this to be a fair and reasonable amount for services rendered to ASFA and its members,” according to incoming VP Finance Alexa Newman.
The situation raised some serious questions about ASFA’s financial practice, including the fact that the office manager and financial comptroller kept a record of her own hours, meaning that although she kept a record of her hours which were available to the ASFA president, there was no concrete method of truly confirming her figures.
The problems caused Green to consider some changes. “I intend to have a digital punchclock, [that] I as president and my two signing officers, VP Finance and VP Internal, will have access to,” Green said. “Between the three of us we will have the power to verify whether or not the office manager is keeping the hours he or she says they are, so there are no doubts in people’s minds that they are keeping the hours they say they are.”
Green also said he plans to introduce the office manager position into the ASFA bylaws, which it currently isn’t. He has also inserted a clause into the position’s contract which states that no overtime can be granted without the sign of approval from two of the association’s three signing officers.
ASFA didn’t have to look far for the extra finances to supplement Taylor. “The funds are being issued as a bonus, not overtime,” Newman said, “and will be deducted from various oversight committees that did not spend their entire budgets throughout the 2009-2010 fiscal year.”
Taylor could not be reached for comment.