By Melissa Prentice
Arizona Daily Wildcat
In order to prevent problems that occur as student government officials change, ASUA is seeking continuity and advice from a full-time advisor.
Jim Drneck, who served last year as a part-time advisor to both the Associated Students of the University of Arizona and the Student Union Advisory Board, will now be a full-time ASUA advisor, President T.J. Trujillo said.
Drneck said that at this point he also plans to continue serving as an advisor to the Union Advisory Board, formally SUAB.
"From year to year the elected officials change and we needed someone here full time to offer stability from year to year," Trujillo said. "In the past, we've been reinventing the wheel each year with each new group of officers. [and] people had nowhere to go for help if the president or vice president wasn't around. An advisor would serve as a resource for all ASUA officials."
Trujillo said he hopes having an advisor will prevent past problems ASUA has experienced with elections and club funding.
He said that having someone able to verify candidate eligibility requirements more thoroughly would have prevented the problems with last year's presidential election. Also, he said an advisor would be able to clarify the club funding requirements and ensure that they were constantly enforced from each year.
Drneck said he is glad to increase his assistance to ASUA, and added that they have not wanted him to do so in the past.
"Now they really want and need someone to help them figure out what is going on around campus. I've been here for seven years so by now I have a pretty good idea," Drneck said.
Drneck said that he will be able to provide leadership and group dynamics training to elected and appointed ASUA officials. He said he thinks this will help alleviate several of the problems that usually occur when factions form in ASUA, dividing the members.
As ASUA advisor, Drneck will also help with budget issues, handle support staff evaluations and policies and meet weekly with the Central Coordinating Council, formerly the Central Governing Council, Trujillo said.
Drneck said most of his job duties are still unclear, but added that so far he has mostly been working with the Speaker's Board and Spring Fling leaders. Trujillo said more details, including Drneck's salary, will be decided at a meeting Sept. 14.
ASUA Bookstore Director Frank Farias will also be a volunteer advisor to help ASUA with financial issues, Trujillo said.
"Since we receive a portion of the bookstore's profits, our success is dependent on the bookstore and the bookstore's success is dependent on us, " Trujillo said. "We wanted to create a relationship with the bookstore so Frank Farias can have a say in what we are doing up here."
Farias said he agrees that better communication is needed between the bookstore and ASUA.
"I have a vested interest in how ASUA's money is spent, since a large portion of their money comes from bookstore revenues," Farias said. "The staff here at the bookstore has to work very hard to ensure that our resources are managed optimally and I would like to see ASUA's money handled equally wisely."
ASUA is guaranteed $200,000 from the bookstore each year and also receives one-third of the year's profit, Trujillo said.
"Frank Farias is a brilliant businessman and will be a lot of help to us," he said.
Farias said he can benefit ASUA because he has experience managing a large, complex budget and he can offer continuity for many years, because his full-time job is also on campus .
He said his partnership with ASUA has already benefitted the student government because he has allowed them to purchase photocopier paper at the price he pays for it, saving them almost two-thirds of what they paid previously.
Farias and other faculty members will also be invited to serve on a monthly advisory board. Read Next Article