GSB discusses compensation of speaker, vice speaker


Whitney Lynn/Iowa State Daily

GSB Speaker of the Senate Gabe Walsh, senior in political science, gave his reasoning behind wanting to pass the bill discussed in the GSB meeting Wednesday, Feb. 25. The bill being discussed was for a $4,000 scholarship and a parking pass that would be given to the speaker of the senate, and a parking pass that would be given to the vice speaker. The bill did not pass with a majority vote.

Michaela Ramm

Compensation for the speaker and vice speaker of the Government of the Student Body Senate was the main topic of discussion of the senate meeting Feb. 25, which ultimately failed in a vote. 

GSB voted on a bill that would compensate those serving in the roles of the speaker and vice speaker of the senate. The bill would give a half scholarship, which is equal to in-state tuition, as well as a parking pass to the speaker. The vice speaker would receive a parking pass.

Abhijit Patwa, finance director, said GSB’s budget last year was $175,000 and 10 percent was used for internal affairs.

“Students don’t pay fees, so we sit here and spend money on ourselves,” Patwa said.

Vice Speaker Dan Breitbarth said Speaker Gabe Walsh easily puts in 10 hours of work a week, and it takes a lot of patience and time to do his job.

Walsh said the bill would not affect him, but he was in favor of passing the bill.

“There’s not always going to be someone willing to do this role,” Walsh said. “Why would someone want to put in that time if they won’t be compensated for it? We’re just asking to get a little bit of compensation for putting in a heck of a lot of time.”

Patwa said the executive and judicial branches is just as important as legislative branch.

“We need to draw the line,” Patwa said. “Everyone works hard, but we don’t need to pay everyone to make them accountable.”

Sen. Ryan Starn pointed out that no senator is compensated.

“If you want to be speaker, you should be willing to accept those demands and be treated the same as a senator,” Starn said.

Sen. David Moore III said the scholarships are given because students can’t hold a job and fulfill the duties they need to.

Moore said with this compensation there may be a larger accountability from the speaker.

Sen. Michael Snook said he did not believe the current duties of the speaker are deserving of this scholarship.

“Why don’t we offer scholarship to other officers?” Snook said. “Why stop at [the] speaker?”

Walsh said the speaker is often held to a different standard inside the chamber.

“If the president wants to spend money, they have to come to the speaker first to get anything done,” Walsh said. “Big things that happen through this body have to come through this branch. We need good leadership.”

President Hillary Kletscher said she has received positive feedback from students in the past on not compensating officers and instead redirecting that money to student organizations.

The bill failed to pass after a vote from the senate.

GSB also voted down a motion to wave second read on a contract with the Student Union Board, and instead will discuss and vote on the bill next week.

The new contract with guarantee funding for SUB events for the next three years, beginning July 2015 and ending June 2018.

SUB would be given $250,000 a year if this bill would pass. Of that, $100,000 would be used to fund national events on Iowa State’s campus. The rest of the fun, $150,000 would be used for other SUB events, including Cyclone Cinema.

A motion was made to wave second read in order to make a decision on the bill this week, since the majority of the chief officers will be absent at next week’s meeting.

“We decide our budget next Saturday,” Patwa said. “It’s important we vote on it now before the budget is decided.”

The motion to wave second read failed and the bill will be discussed and voted on next week.

GSB also voted on a bill that would eliminate special allocations and require student organizations to request funding during regular allocations.

The bill passed after a vote in the senate.