GSB Senate argues over compensation for time, work


Jessica Kalahar/ Iowa State Daily

Hillary Kletscher, president of the Government of the Student Body, argues to the Senate as to why she vetoed a bill that would allow for compensation for the speaker and vice speaker of the organization. 

Michaela Ramm

The Government of the Student Body Senate overrode President Hillary Kletscher’s veto of a bill that would provide the speaker and vice speaker of the Senate with scholarships.

The Senate voted the veto down 23 to 4. 

The bill President Kletscher vetoed Tuesday was passed at the Senate’s March 25 meeting. The bill offers a scholarship equivalent to half a year of in-state tuition, including mandatory fees and a parking pass. The vice speaker of the Senate will be offered a parking pass.

Compensation for next year’s speaker and vice speaker will begin next year. 

According to Kletscher’s email to the Senate on why she vetoed the initial bill, she said adding “additional compensation for officers who are elected to serve internal purposes is not in the best interest of managing student fee dollars carefully and with a scrutinizing eye.”

Addressing the Senate, Kletscher said she decided to veto because she believes the student fees should go back to the students.

The majority of the senators who supported chose to overturn the veto because they believe the duties of the speaker and vice speaker deserve compensation.

Sen. Hamad Abbas said the speaker of the Senate works a lot and truly deserves compensation for their job. Abbas argued that despite the fact the speaker is elected by the Senate, the Senate itself is elected by the student body.

“Once elected, we represent the entire student body,” Abbas said.

Kletscher said in her email that the speaker and vice speaker exist to serve the internal student government as leaders.

Speaker of the Senate Gabe Walsh argued that the Senate is not an internal form of government.

“If you say this position is internal, think again,” Walsh said. “Everything I do serves that purpose to maintain the legislative branch.”

Abhijit Patwa, finance director, said the bill wasn’t seen by the finance committee and that it needed to be.

“Any finance bill needs to be sent to committee,” Patwa said. “This bill was never sent to the Finance Committee.”

Abbas argued that the speaker was not expected to notify the finance director. The finance director could have added it to their agenda at any time, but just chose not to.

Each year, the president of GSB recieves a full scholarship and the vice president receives a half scholarship.

Walsh called Kletscher a hypocrite for vetoing the bill, as she accepted more than $20,000 in compensation for her scholarship as president. 

“So when I say this veto statement is laughable, just read the text and think about everything we’ve done this year,” Walsh said.

Sen. Zachary Bauer also called the president a hypocrite for accepting compensation for her position.

Bauer also questioned why the vice president receives compensation for their job.

“The vice president is the most internal position in this organization,” Bauer said. “All they do is sit during Senate meetings, and they receive compensation.”

Abbas said the Senate was not trying to put the speaker on the same level as the president, but on same level as the vice president.

Sen. Peter Myers, in the words of Sen. Steven Valentino, who was absent for the meeting, said he was disgusted by the bill.

“We are a volunteer organization,” Myers said. “We donate our time and that is our volunteering role, to fulfill a purpose.”

Sen. Erick Dietz argued that volunteering organizations do pay the leaders of those organizations.

“We’re not compensating every senator, just the person leading the senate,” Dietz said.

Sen. Ryan Starn said he believes the Senate talks about helping students only as long as it benefits them.

“We’re not taking this money from a millionaire, we’re taking it from students,” Starn said. “Are we about serving ourselves at the expense of the students?”

Dietz said he knew students don’t like this bill.

“If we start paying speaker, students would have skin in the game and they might start caring,” Dietz said. “I don’t give a damn what they want, I will do what is best for them.”

After a vote on the floor, the GSB Senate overrode the president’s veto with a vote of 23 to four.