Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 13, No. 11. June 8th, 1950
New Executive Office Created
New Executive Office Created
One night last week, the Exec, and friends met in a pleasant little social gathering. It was somewhat exclusive; plans had been made to receive at least 50, but there was some trouble in keeping the number to that figure.
As a result of this (called a Special General Meeting) many people went home rather fed up at the apathy which characterised the whole thing, and the new Exec, office of Treasurer was created.
At the opening time, the quorum, of 50 was nowhere in sight; it was only by energetic efforts on the part of odd individuals that the number went up at all. And from then on, it was a constant fight to keep it at that level Several times the plaintive cry for a count went up; several times there was a frantic scurry to get it up before the meeting had to close, and unwilling bodies were raked in for the job.
In this atmosphere, though, there was a fair amount of relevant comment on the Exec, proposals. Anyway, we guess that the meeting was representative of those who are genuinely interested in student affairs and on that basis had every right to come to a decision.
The Exec, itself (said Miss Pearce in her expanatory remarks) had decided to call a Special Meeting to have this question considered in time for the election this year. It had become increasingly obvious that the financial affairs of the Association were too complex to be handled almost in passing by an extremely busy secretary. More than that, while we had an accountant who was extremely able, there was need for an exec, member who could expound accounting matters, to act as a liason between the Exec-and its accountant. And when AGM's came around, the Exec, could do with a capable accountant who was well versed in the figures to explain and defend (if necessary) the financial statement which was presented.
The motions which were to be moved were a policy motion approving of the idea, and a long machinery motion putting this into effect as constitutional amendments.
The main brunt of the controversy settled round two points. One was the need to have an accountant if we were to have a fully qualified—or nearly so—person to act as Treasurer, and the other was the question of restricting the franchise by making only certain people with selective accountancy qualifications able to take on the job.
The first was raised by Mr. Melling. He thought that if we were to have an accountant as Treasurer, then the Exec, could well look into the need for keeping a separate accountant. On this score he was tackled both by Miss Pearce and Mr. K. B. O'Brien, who maintained that the office of Treasurer was necessary in addition to the accountant; there was far too much work for a part time Treasurer to handle, and the proposal need not even be considered. It wasn't.
As the Exec, saw it, the new treasurer would need to be pretty well qualified. A Commerce degree or accountancy qualifications would have first priority under a scheme which would exclude the returning officer from accepting any other nominations if one person with the superior qualifications stood. He could accept if there were none such, a candidate with Accountancy 11: if no person with those qualifications offered, then the job of appointing would fall to the Exec, by cooption.
Mr. Foy, Mr. Goddard and Mr. Jenkins all disagreed with this move and with its effects. There was danger, they thought, in appointing someone on such a restricted franchise. If everyone but people with these (uncommon) qualifications were excluded, then the Association would have to make its choice from a very few students. None of these speakers suggested that the appointed exec, member, selected on a restricted franchise, might perhaps be allowed only a restricted vote on those matters for which he was appointed. This might have been a logical way out of the impasse, though possibly the Exec, would not have accepted it as such.
An amendment by Mr. Foy having failed, the gag was swiftly put on discussion of a further suggested amendment from Mr. Piper—before hearing either the amendment or the arguments. The meeting "was in no mood to listen to further discussion; some of those present had been taken from serious matters like other club meetings; some had left their comfortable firesides lured only by their sense of duty. That sense was wearing thin after an hour or so. The meeting closed. The elections in a few weeks time will therefore include one for the office of Treasurer.