Last year the former editor in chief of The Broadside, Don Iler, wrote an editorial titled, “It Pays to love ASCOCC.” Iler, who was later accused of defamation for the editorial, was cleared of all charges. The problem that Iler’s editorial was attempting to uncover was lost in the political mess, until now.
“Rob Walker, who is living with ASCOCC council member Brenda Pierce, was hired last term to make videos for ASCOCC… his contract came up for review and if approved, he will be paid $3000 spring term…$3000 per term is quite a bit for ASCOCC to be paying” wrote Iler in his editorial.
The $3000 contract wasn’t approved. Instead Walker was given an hourly rate at $15 per hour. This ended up netting Walker a higher income than the initial $3000 per term. For spring term 2010, Walker was paid $5,504.50.
On top of Walker’s $15 an hour honorary member pay, he was also paid for outside contracts. For the 2009 to 2010 school year, Walker was paid $19,357 with student fee money. Walker began honorary and outside contract work in February of 2010. If Walker had worked a full school year he would have been paid a much higher annual earning. It is concerning to know that this was approved by our student government.
ASCOCC should be more accountable for student fee money. The Broadside has attempted to find the minutes (outlines) for the public meeting where ASCOCC members agreed to contract and pay an hourly rate to Walker. If these minutes aren’t posted that would mean ASCOCC is breaking Oregon law.
The ethical boundary is pushed when student government members hire boyfriends and pay them over $19,000 dollars a year. When you include a $295 per hour lawyer, $18,000 trips to Washington, and a public relations consultant, current members could potentially bankrupt the student government.
Has a student government gone bankrupt? I have found none that have, but I have also found no other student government that has hired a lawyer in order to avoid being dissolved, and to ‘define’ themselves in relation to the college that houses and supports them. Student government members seem to not have a proper system in place for maintaining financially responsibility.
Walker was just paid $1366.50 for September of this year. This is more than any student government member is paid per month.
Who is in control of this situation?
Last year Walker was also the president of the Brew Club, a club where all equipment was stored in Pierce’s and Walkers garage. The Brew Club was funded by student fee money. Are there no ethical boundaries, or moral based second guessing within the student government? ASCOCC is not being accountable of student fee money. Student government members are not making ethically sound choices.
The student government is learning experience. There are wonderful things the student government has done for our campus and the students at COCC. However, being an honorary, general council and executive council member is not a sustainable job. These positions are not financially supporting careers, and that is how these positions are being treated.
It seems members have become too comfortable, and it seems that level of comfort has hindered their ability to make ethical judgements about how student fee money is spent.
Can student government justify actions like paying a boyfriend over $19,000 in student fees? If there is corruption in student government, this may be a keen example of it.