With the current election afoot, the Brandon University Students’ Union (BUSU) has been busy with ongoing changes and challenges.
On Friday, February 17th a special meeting was called for BUSU council based on inquiries made into Mr. Greg Monias’ hour claims over the course of his elected term. On perusing the documents in question councilpersons observed that several inconsistencies were present in his timesheets, leading Monias to be paid for work not directly relating to his position of Vice President External (VPE) with BUSU.
Before the timesheets could be discussed, Monias, who was absent at this meeting, submitted a letter of resignation for his position of VPE. This resignation was stated to be effective immediately. Upon accepting this resignation the council then moved onto discussing the discrepancies presented at the meeting.
Monias’ discrepancies in his timesheets were attributed to an overlapping of roles, as he held both the position of VPE with BUSU, as well as the position of Aboriginal Commissioner with Canadian Federation of Students, Manitoba (CFS-MB). It was found that roughly 10% of the time Monias claimed for BUSU, had no direct relation to his role for BUSU, and was work for his position with CFS-MB.
The Quill has since acquired the information that Monias’ hourly wage with BUSU was $13.71 per hour. Assuming that Monias claimed 20 hours per week, the maximum for the role at the time of his being elected, for the 42 weeks he held office, Monias would have claimed 840 hours. Thus, BUSU would have paid Monias for roughly 84 hours spent on activities not related to his assigned and elected role as VPE. Those 84 hours translate into $1151.64 paid to Monias from the BUSU budget, a budget which students pay into. In a roundabout way, then, students paid Monias in excess of $1000 to complete tasks not directly related to their wellbeing as students of Brandon University. BUSU General Manager Nataly Orr said of these timesheet discrepancies, that as the timesheets have already been approved “whether factual or not,” nothing can be done in retrospect.
Vice President Internal Jill Creasor spoke on Monias’ behalf, noting that he expressed understanding when confronted with knowledge that he was not putting as much effort into his role with BUSU as he was into his role with CFS-MB. Creasor stated that Monias’ resignation was decided as he did not want to further detriment the union. Monias will stay with CFS-MB as Aboriginal Commissioner, a place where Creasor said his “heart and passions really lie”. Creasor spoke further on the hour misappropriations saying that BUSU executives approve each others’ timesheets, as well as councilpersons’ timesheets, and she and President Nick Brown had noticed issues with Monias’ hours early on in the year. She implored, however, “it’s very hard to work with somebody in the office and create ripples [...] to see things be done, and then to call [them] on things that are being done.”
Residence Director Kristin Smart also spoke on Monias’ behalf, and of the difficulties of working with multiple groups, “Greg did this with good intentions,” she said, “We [are] human; we aren’t perfect”.
At this meeting BUSU elected a current Director to fill the seat of VPE for the remainder of the term. Science Director Trevor Poole was the only one nominated, and in his address to the council jokingly said that “We’re going to make BUSU great again—because yes we can.” Poole noted that his other duties have been diminishing, leaving him with some spare time that could be dedicated to the role. Poole said that he has an understanding of how the clubs currently run, citing his experience within various clubs holding various positions. “I just want to step up and make sure we can finish this year strong,” Poole said.
Since this meeting, Poole has informed The Quill that as the position of Science Director is currently vacant, it is unlikely to be filled for the short period remaining in the council term. “This does not, however, mean that science students will go unrepresented,” Poole says, stating that he will continue to sit on various science faculty related committees, and encouraging all students to see him during his office hours (Mondays 9:30-10:30am) should they have any concerns.
In response to Monias’ resignation, Poole said “Mr. Monias has been and will surely continue to be an active voice in our community. He will remain in his role with CFS-MB and is also staying on the Brandon University Senate as the music student senator. Mr. Monias has many roles and responsibilities and, by resigning from his position with BUSU, he will be able to pursue those interests more effectively should he choose. The friends Mr. Monias made at BUSU will miss his presence and we all wish him well with his future endeavours.”
Republished from The Quill print edition, Volume 107, Issue 23, February 28th, 2017.