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SGA president vetos secretary appointment

Associate Editor

Published: Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Updated: Wednesday, February 5, 2014 23:02

Steve Perry SGA

Kaleigh Treiber | The Houstonian

Rules and Regulation Chief Steven Perry announces a last-minute piece of legislation creating an interim secretary position during the final minutes of Tuesday’s Student Government Association meeting. The bill sparked immediate opposition from Student Body President Ramiro Jaime, Jr., who said there’s no need for such legislation, citing his executive power.

This week’s Student Government Association meeting ended in the first presidential veto in at least four years, according to Student Body Vice President Kolby Flowers.

After a relatively smooth-running meeting, conflict erupted when Rules and Regulations Chief Steven Perry presented S14-10, a bill creating an interim secretary position until a permanent secretary is selected. Although the bill was a noble attempt at filling the void of a secretary, according to Student Body President Ramiro Jaime, Jr., it was unnecessary.

Jaime had already used his presidential power of recess appointment to appoint Sen. Jacob Ratliff (COCJ) as the acting secretary since Chaston Pruitt resigned in January. This led to Jaime using his presidential veto during the appointment process by the Senate.

“The way it works, whenever a spot is vacant, the president is allowed to make a recess appointment and that person will assume the position until the next meeting,” Jaime said.

Jaime referenced Rule 8, Section F of the SGA Rules and Regulations that states, “During recesses of the Senate, the Student Body President shall have the authority to make recesses appointments that shall last until the next meeting of the Senate.” Since the appointments expire at the start of each Senate meeting, Jaime must reappoint Ratliff after each meeting until the position filled.

Perry said he believed it was the right decision to present the legislation to ensure the official duties of the secretary are being filled.

“When I proposed the legislation, I did so under the understanding that the confirmation process could take several weeks, and I wanted the make sure the duties of the position were covered during that time,” Perry said.

Perry brought the legislation to the floor just before the meeting ended during the open-forum section of the meeting. Jaime said the matter by which the legislation was presented was below the standard he set at the beginning of the year. During the first month of his administration, he said he expects a 24-hour notice to the senate and executive board of any legislation brought to the table.

Perry failed to meet this standard.

“I was blindsided,” Jaime said. “Maybe some other senators knew about it, but I didn’t know about it. We already have something in place.”

However, Perry said he and the rest of the senators didn’t know about Jaime’s recess appointment.

Jaime has narrowed his secretary search to two contenders, Ratliff and Student Affairs Chief Alex Rangel, and he will appoint one of them during the Feb. 11 meeting.

“I still think the legislation is, overall, a good solution to the problems faced by the recess appointment process,” Perry said. “If the Senate chooses not to confirm a nominee next week, I will request that we fill the interim position.”

SGA meets Tuesdays in Lowman Student Center room 320 at 6:30 p.m.

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