SA execs violate policy

By Kevin Lyons

A longstanding policy to keep the Student Association in line has been violated grossly by a few key executives, including SA President Paul Middleton.

The policy of logging in hours for SA members began about two years ago to increase accountability. SA executives receive a set salary bi-monthly, paid through student fees.

SA top dogs can earn about $480 per month, although according to SA office log books, Middleton’s checks rarely match up with hours logged.

Middleton denied the importance of his signing of the log books stating that the logs are meant to keep track of his advisers.

“My policy is that the sign-in book is for Joe (Kolerich, SA chief of staff.) No one here would question that I don’t put in a full week,” Middleton said.

Middleton is required to spend 15 hours a week in the SA office. For an average of about 22 weeks, Middleton was logged for about 9.75 hours per week. He did not log in for 57 days at all from the beginning of September to the end of February.

The set salary is based on $4.45 per hour multiplied by 20 hours a week, 15 of which should be recorded in the log book under office hours.

In January, for example, Middleton signed in for a total of 13 hours for the entire month while grabbing $249 in pay. For nine days in January the logs show no record of Middleton’s presence in the SA office. Based on the office logs, the only record of time in the SA, Middleton earned about $19.20 per hour.

SA Treasurer Tony Lopykinski, another violator, said the logs are the only means of records to determine the comings and goings of SA members and while all the hours might not be logged, members are to a certain extent “on an honors system.

Middleton’s hours did check out in November and December, but September, October, January and February did not meet up to par.

Although he received the full $480 for September, Middleton’s signature did not appear for 12 working days. He was logged for only about 30 hours, half of which he should be, according to the 15-office-hours-per-week policy.

Middleton’s set office hours, as given by SA Office Manager Beth Bjorneby, total 12.5 hours a week.

In February, Middleton’s signature was completely barren from the office log sheets since Feb. 2. However, for the first two of weeks February, Middleton received $195.

An SA president is required to spend some time outside of office hours to attend various meetings, such as the President’s Fee Study Committee and the University Council.

Former SA President Preston Came said he set 20 hours a week aside for office hours and spent around 5 hours a week attending various meetings. Came said regular SA meetings do not count toward required hours.

Came said while he was fairly certain Middleton spent more time in the office than indicated in the logs, at least 15 hours of that time should be recorded for accountability and as an example for other SA members.

According to SA job descriptions and policies, the 21-week period investigation would require Middleton to log in about 315 office hours based on 15 hours a week. He logged a little more than half of those hours.

Middleton argued that he didn’t need to log his hours, although he logged them extensively in November and December and rather consistently throughout most months.

When asked why he logged any hours at all if he wasn’t required to, Middleton said, “Sometimes I sign in if I think I might not be putting in a whole week, but I always do.”

SA Senator Eric Grice, who also is running against Middleton said he wasn’t surprised by The Northern Star’s findings based on his experience with the office as a senator.

Grice said he feels Middleton set a poor example for the rest of his staff by failing to account for time. “If the leader doesn’t go by the rules, naturally his employees are going to think he’s not serious and won’t take their jobs seriously.

“Better staff management is an issue I touch upon in my

campaign. I would take personal responsibility for the accountability of my employees,” Grice said in regards to the log book investigation.

SA Presidential Candidate Abe Andrzejewski said he believes Middleton did fulfill the hours he was paid for but considers the negligence in logging hours unfortunate.

“I feel that it was unprofessional of Paul not to follow the office policy that his own executive power is supposed to enforce,” Andrzejewski said.