SGA is in disarray after power shifts back and forth
Published: Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 3, 2013 00:10
The Student Government Association leadership is in disarray.
SGA Vice President Kolby Flowers assumed the position of the president in an 11-2 vote during Tuesday’s meeting that temporarily ousted Student Body President Ramiro Jaime Jr. from power. The Senate argued that Jaime wasn’t fit for duty and cited a constitutional clause that gave Flowers the ability to temporarily ascend to the presidency.
Article IV, Section 7(a) of the SGA Constitution says that the vice president can assume powers of the president if the current president is unable to fulfill his duties.
Jaime appealed the decision to the Supreme Court Wednesday. Although the action stood throughout the Tuesday meeting, Chief Justice Frank Parker issued a Stay of Action Wednesday reversing the vote until the Supreme Court reviews the Senate’s decision. It’s unclear what all Jaime brought to the Supreme Court, but because the Senate’s vote was temporarily reversed, Jaime is still SGA president.
Jaime refused to speak to The Houstonian directly but spoke with observers and a senator after the meeting.
“All this will be overturned [in the Court],” Jaime said to an observer. “They definitely went out of their bounds. All of this will be over soon. There’s a regime. This is why I’m trying to grow student government, to get more people, to get this regime out.”
The Senate also voted in favor of rescinding the appointment of Jaime’s unauthorized personal assistant. After weeks of arguing over budget concerns, Jaime persisted in using Student Service Fee funds for hiring a personal assistant, despite not having Senate affirmation of the appointment.
Flowers said students shouldn’t have to fund a personal assistant, and that the president didn’t receive Senate approval as required by the SGA Constitution.
“He is not that busy,” Flowers said. “The president wants a personal assistant to check his emails and book appointments for himself. No student should have to pay for a personal assistant to a student, no matter where the money comes from. The president has clearly not followed the rules that govern the SGA. That is why I voted with the Senate on Tuesday night.”
In addition to the vote on Jaime’s personal assistant, Flowers voted in favor of granting the power of the president to the vice president.
“The president asked to see me in his office [before the meeting] to talk about what has been going on,” Flowers said. “He claimed this was a personal attack on him, and I assured him it was not.”
Flowers said he went through the list of charges after Ramiro contested he did nothing wrong.
“When I told him face to face that he had to seek the consent of the Senate to appoint a personal assistant,” Flowers said, “he shrugged his shoulders and said nothing. He sat there saying nothing as he knew what he did was wrong and against the rules.”
Jaime asserted his belief that his impeachment was a personal attack after the meeting while talking to an observer after the meeting when he referred to SGA as “Student German Association” and that there was a plot against him from the beginning of his presidency.
During last year’s student body presidential election, candidate Mike Apt was thrown off the ballot for illegally campaigning. This left Jaime’s ticket, which included Flowers, the only choice left on the ballot.
“I stood by and let it happen, but now I’m finding the truth behind it all,” Jaime said to an observer after the meeting. “It’s a circus. That’s why we need more people in [SGA] because we can’t vote them out if we just allow this to happen.”
The events during the meeting came after 10 members of the Senate officially filed Jaime’s impeachment papers Monday. Their grievances with the president were over the misuse of unauthorized funds when Jaime hired a personal assistant without Senate approval, according to the impeachments documents.
More charges include dereliction of duty in the form of ignoring legislation passed by the Senate and malfeasance for not appointing positions required to be filled by the third meeting.
Jaime’s impeachment is scheduled for Oct. 15. Parker said in the Stay of Action the schedule for the Supreme Court hearing will be announced this week.