In the upcoming weeks, the Mercyhurst Staff Senate will be holding elections to fill the position of Treasurer. Nominations opened on Sept. 7 and closed Sept. 21. Once nominations are counted and nominees are contacted, elections will take place.
The Staff Senate is automatically comprised of all staff members at Mercyhurst. Although it functions in ways similar to a union, it is not classified as such and members do not need to pay a fee.
The purpose of the Staff Senate is very similar to Mercyhurst Student Government, which is comprised of students from diverse areas across campus in order to represent the student body as a whole.
Both Mercyhurst Student Government and the Staff Senate are part of initiatives to ensure that Mercyhurst promotes shared governance, meaning that power rests in the hands of not just the upper administration, but all areas of campus including faculty, staff, and students.
Without these types of programs and leaders, there would be a lack of diverse voices in decision making for major issues at hand on our campus.
Just as it is important for the needs of students to be addressed through Mercyhurst Student Government, employees of Mercyhurst rely on the Staff Senate to express their opinions and advocate for their needs.
Karen Niemla, Reference and Technology Librarian and Parliamentarian and Chair of the Bylaws and Elections Committee of the Staff Senate, speaks about the importance of the Staff Senate. To quote the bylaws, the senate “serves as a medium for addressing topics affecting staff in order to foster a better working environment.”
The Staff Senate is critical to ensuring the happiness and satisfaction of employees on campus.
Elections for the Staff Senate are typically held in the spring.
However, special elections are sometimes held to fill vacant seats throughout the semester. This semester, the senate is looking to fill the treasurer seat last held by Matt Sanfilippo.
There are five positions among the Staff Senate including the Chair, the Vice Chair, the Secretary, the Parliamentarian, and the Treasurer.
Each of these positions changes every two years so that there is constant turnover and new voices in the senate. This is important because it allows new staff members to run for election and ensures that there is no longstanding hold over the positions by one individual.
For this particular election, anyone who qualifies as a staff member on campus was able to contact Niemla to make a nomination for the treasurer position.
“After nomination, I, as Parliamentarian and Chair of the Bylaws and Elections Committee, will contact the nominee to confirm whether they are willing to run for election,” said Niemla.
Once elections occur and a treasurer is chosen, they will be responsible for the senate’s financial matters. Some of these duties include budgeting, fundraising, and maintaining transaction records for the Staff Senate finances.
With a new President on campus, there are many areas of campus that are impacted, and the Staff Senate is no exception.
Niemla comments, “While President Victor will be missed, the arrival of President Getz represents an exciting new opportunity for new changes on campus in the future. We look forward to her upcoming visit to one of our Staff Senate meetings this semester.”
Getz is running her presidency under the premise of “Good Today, Better Tomorrow,” and
the staff anticipates her incorporation of these standards into the mission of the Staff Senate.
Check in soon to see who was elected as the newest treasurer of Mercyhurst’s Staff Senate!