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The Undergraduate Council last night voted in its new secretary and treasurer, and also found itself with 10 new executive positions that many members had not expected.
In the first council meeting of the year, former council parliamentarian Michael J. Passante '99 and three-year council veteran John J. Appelbaum '97 were elected the new secretary and treasurer, respectively.
And in a surprise move, popularly elected President and Vice President Robert M. Hyman '98 and Lamelle D. Rawlins '99 announced the creation of a new executive cabinet, a move unprecedented in recent council history.
Each cabinet position covers an area addressed in Hyman and Rawlins' campaign platform from the spring. It includes posts such as a director of campus safety and a director for gender issues.
Members can contact Hyman if they are interested in these 10 new positions or the six more traditional appointed positions, such as press and publicity liaison and technology coordinator. Hyman said he will probably make the decisions before the next council meeting.
After the announcements, some council members said they were disturbed about the creation of executive power.
"I'm concerned about the precedent for that.... In the past, most presidents appointed two or three members. I don't think this is the way it was intended to be used," Appelbaum said.
Other council members supported the measure, saying it would get more people involved in council issues.
"It's a good thing because I see their primary job as assisting the president and the vice president," said new council member Kate A. Duncan '99. "Some people see it as trying to keep the power in a small circle, but I think it spreads it out more."
Hyman defended himself by saying that the president does have constitutional power to create executive positions.
"It is within the jurisdiction of the president to create positions as he sees fit, and I see fit to create these positions to work out the student rights agenda," Hyman said.
Rawlins added that the two officers intended the positions to get more non-council students involved and to streamline the actions of the council.
"This isn't really anything to do with power. They're going to work on an informal level with Rob and me," Rawlins said. "We promised the student body that we would fight for these issues, but two people cannot begin to tackle everything at once. We hope to get more of the council involved in these issues."
In the election following the announcement, Passante ran against council newcomer Michael A. O'Mary '99, garnering 52 out of 80 votes.
In his campaign speech last night, Passante said he would concentrate on communication between the council and the students.
"My number one priority is to work to inform [students] about council events, whether through e-mail, postering or anything else," he said.
Appelbaum, who finished sixth in last spring's campus-wide presidential election, won out over Andrew J. Owen '99, Carolyne L. Guss '99 and Crimson editor Justin E. Porter '99. In the final run-off, Appelbaum defeated Porter 39 votes to 35.
Appelbaum promised to work on fiscal responsibility and to review the grants process.
"We have to remember this is not our money we are spending, it is the students'. If we cannot handle that money responsibly, we will have failed. I want to avoid that," he said.
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