JSA councillor named CEO for ASFA

ASFA decides after an executive stepped in for by-elections

The Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA) elected a CEO to oversee the upcoming by-elections during a general council meeting Thursday Nov. 9.

Fiona Harrison-Roberts, finance executive with the Journalism Student Association (JSA) was elected to be the interim CEO for the by-election.

“We’ve had issues finding an ASFA CEO. No one applied,” said Elliott Boulanger, internal affairs and administration coordinator. The job posting was made public on ASFA’s Facebook page in September.

The position had to be filled immediately because of the upcoming by election so Boulanger took over the responsibilities of the CEO.

The role of the CEO during the by-election consists of ensuring that anyone participating in the election is complying with the rules and regulations, issuing directives on how these regulations are carried out, looking into the legitimacy of the election expenses and proposing regulation reforms to the council.

The CEO is also tasked with providing “information regarding the specifications and the carrying out of these regulations” to any person who requests it, and providing public access to “all information, reports, returns or documents relating to these regulations,” according to the job posting on ASFA’s Facebook page.

The council had to resolve three issues, the first being that no one applied for the position of CEO. The other two issues stemmed from the fact that Boulanger, an executive, had stepped into the position.

The issue with Boulanger taking on the position was that as an executive, they were in charge of hiring the CEO. Rory Blaisdell, council chairperson, recognized that this was an emergency situation where the position needed to be filled but also said “Elliot cannot hire themselves for the position.”

Boulanger made it clear that they were still actively looking for someone to fill the CEO position. “It’s not that I want to do it—I don’t. I have two jobs, classes, my internal position, I have a lot and this position is not the ideal situation on any level but the election has to happen,” they said.

Blaisdell told council that an executive could be hired, but in those cases, it has to be done by the council and not another executive. “If you are hiring an executive then you must be notwithstanding your Annex A,”—the clause that states executives cannot fill this role.

Boulanger was asked to step out of the room while council explored its options. During that time, a straw poll was conducted to see if any councillors were willing to take on the position of an interim CEO.

“I decided to volunteer for the position because I felt like it was the right thing to do,” said Harrison-Roberts. Two other councillors also volunteered for the position and when the votes were counted, Harrison-Roberts was declared the interim CEO.

The council then had to vote on a motion to notwithstand sections B, C and D from Annex A. Those sections state that current or former councillors, the executive body of any ASFA member association or any ASFA member who holds an elected or appointed position within ASFA, or one of its member associations are not eligible to hold an electoral office.

Council approved Harrison-Roberts as the official interim CEO.

The council also voted to compensate Boulanger for the work they had done thus far to the amount of $100, which came from the $400 honorarium.

The ASFA by-elections will be held from Nov. 27 to 29 and voting will be conducted online.

Photo by Eithne Lynch.


The CEO of the Concordia Student Union resigns

The Concordia Student Union is officially looking for a new chief electoral officer following the resignation of Justin Holland early Monday.

Citing personal reasons, Holland will not be taking courses at Concordia University during the winter semester and therefore stepped down from the position with only two months to go before the general elections in March.

In accordance with the CSU’s bylaws, only individuals who are undergraduate students at Concordia are eligible for the posting. Therefore, not taking classes renders Holland ineligible to keep his employment with the CSU as he is no longer qualified for membership under bylaw 3.1.

Holland also clarified that he will finish his CEO report and reimburse by-election candidates for their expenses by Jan. 22 at the latest.

President Schubert Laforest said the departure was announced Monday morning in an email from Holland.

“Being that I will still be in Montreal during this time, and I will be, in a fashion—auditing courses for future reference, I will be making myself available for an orderly handover with my successor,” the email read.

Laforest told The Concordian that he was pleased with Holland’s work thus far.

“He learned quickly and managed a good election and he was always professional,” said Laforest. “It was a loss for us.”

The CSU listed the CEO posting the same day and already started advertising online through social media platforms in order to attract potential applicants. Some of the responsibilities of the CEO include ensuring that elections run independently and fairly, issuing directives on the carrying out of the standing regulations and training election officers.

Laforest said that while the timing is tricky he is “fairly confident” that his team will address the situation responsibly by hiring a new CEO quickly.

In order to be eligible to apply for the posting, applicants must be registered as an undergraduate student for the current semester and must possess a good knowledge of the CSU’s bylaws and standing regulations.


CEO impartiality to go under the microscope

A special Concordia Student Union council meeting has been convened for this Wednesday evening to discuss a motion to overturn the judicial board’s decision dismissing former chief electoral officer Bram Goldstein.

In an email from council chair Nick Cuillerier, members were informed that the special meeting, which will be taking place right in the middle of the CSU byelections, came about after three councillors called for it on Saturday night.

Tomer Shavit at the Nov.1 judicial board hearing. Photo by Navneet Pall

The meeting comes amid accusations from former CSU councillor Tomer Shavit that neither current CEO Ismail Holoubi nor JB chair Ceejay Desfosses are impartial.

Shavit, who ran unsuccessfully for a council seat in last year’s general election with losing slate Action, represented the former CSU council during a recent JB hearing that resulted in the invalidation of the appointment of CEO Bram Goldstein, whose original hiring by last year’s council was deemed to be flawed.

Ultimately, Shavit is hoping for council to overturn the JB’s Goldstein decision, which would require a fourth-fifths majority vote.

”I think this entire thing has been an attempt by [CSU president] Lex Gill to appoint her own CEO,” said Shavit on Friday, referring to Holoubi.

Holoubi ran unsuccessfully for an independent seat on the CSU council in last year’s general election. Shavit had originally accused him of being part of the winning Your Concordia slate, of which Gill was leader, but Holoubi denied it in a statement to council, saying ”I wasn’t affiliated with any slate. I ran independently.” Gill has also denied the accusation.

Holoubi was appointed at a special council meeting on Nov. 2, the day after the JB invalidated Goldstein’s appointment.

Shavit filed his appeal to overturn the JB’s decision on Nov. 11, citing arguments which included criticism of the JB’s fast-track procedure and alleged hostility shown toward him by current JB chair Ceejay Desfosses.

Desfosses assumed her position following the resignation earlier this month of Cassie Smith, who cited a ”toxic environment” as a reason for her departure. Smith was criticized by Shavit for the way she handled the original hearing into Goldstein’s appointment. But it is Desfosses who especially concerns Shavit. He has accused her of being a corrupt official.

”I think that Ceejay was put on the JB by Lex Gill to move decisions in her favour, which is why I don’t have faith in the JB,” said Shavit.

Due to the accusations levelled against her, Desfosses recently emailed CSU council asking for suggestions to deal with Shavit’s appeal. At the council meeting held on Nov. 23, a special council meeting was suggested as one of the routes to take to deal with the JB/CEO matter.

In a statement sent to council and the media on Nov. 27, Desfosses said the JB would deal with Shavit’s appeal, but not with the accusations made by Shavit against her. No date for the appeal was given. The announcement of the special council meeting to discuss overturning the JB’s decision came on the same day as Desfosses’s email.

In an email sent to The Concordian on Nov. 26, Gill responded to Shavit’s accusations by saying they had no basis. With regards to Desfosses in particular, Gill wrote that ”the extent of my communication with Ceejay has basically been sitting near her in a political science class almost a year ago. I don’t think baseless, illogical, politically-motivated attacks are a reason for Ceejay, or anyone, to resign. I’m really disappointed with the way she’s been treated through this process.”

Shavit has accused Gill of being one of the main orchestrators behind the invalidation of Goldstein’s appointment.

”My first and foremost argument is that Lex is trying to make this whole thing seem as if council wanted Bram fired. She brought this to council and said that this was something that needed to be addressed. The idea of council versus Bram is disingenuous,” he said.

When Shavit brought up these same accusations at last Wednesday’s council meeting, councillor Michaela Manson responded that it was indeed council’s decision to refer Goldstein’s appointment to the JB, and not solely Gill’s.


Former councillor appeals JB decision to invalidate CEO’s appointment

Former Concordia Student Union councillor Tomer Shavit has filed an appeal with the judicial board after it ruled to invalidate the appointment of chief electoral officer Bram Goldstein.
In the 3,800 word, 16-page document, filed on the appeal deadline of Nov. 11, Shavit calls for the JB to reconsider their decision on the basis of 10 arguments. Shavit elaborated on the arguments in the first section of the appeal. He criticized JB chair Cassie Smith for her decision to use the ‘‘fast-track procedure’’ to handle the decision. He also pointed to what he sees as a lack of understanding of the appointments process and lack of impartiality at the hearing on Nov.1.
Shavit wrote that he felt JB member Ceejay Desfosses acted towards him in a hostile manner at the hearing. He also alleged that there was evidence submitted that was not available to him prior to the hearing.
At the hearing, Shavit represented last year’s CSU council, which was responsible for hiring Goldstein in May. The former councillor asked that the judicial board re-evaluate its decision and re-appoint Bram Goldstein. He also requested the board consider having a new hearing, stress impartiality to its members, and for Desfosses to recuse herself from further proceedings on this dossier.
The written JB report stated that “the resolution that appointed [Goldstein] was invalidated on the basis that the appointments process was not conducted properly.”
Meanwhile, Smith sent her letter of resignation to council on Thursday. Smith wrote that poor health and being behind in her schoolwork were factors in her decision to resign, adding that she was unwilling to ‘‘sacrifice [her] full commitment to the position.’’ She also noted her illness is ‘‘exacerbated by stress,’’ and that it was not worth it for her to remain involved in the process, which she called a ‘‘toxic environment.’’
Smith recommended Desfosses step in as chairperson.
In a special council meeting held the day after the hearing, council appointed Ismail Holoubi as the new CEO after reviewing 10 candidates in closed session.
Exit mobile version