Between the Motions: Councillors approve wage increase for Elections Administrator, $3.9 million loan

After last week’s meeting was cancelled due to a lack of quorum, AMS executives and AMS councillors held a surprise special session of Council last night to approve additional loan borrowing and discuss the hiring of an elections administrator.

Here is what you might have missed.

More money, more applicants?

Councillors unanimously approved a temporary wage increase for the elections administrator position.

The elections administrator — previously the chief electoral officer — oversees AMS elections and constituency elections each year. The wage increase approved last night will bring the pay up to $23 per hour from $19.

Motion mover President Eshana Bhangu said the wage increase is intended to attract high-quality candidates and will last until April 2023 while the Governance Committee discusses changes to the elections office’s operations.

Councillors were set to hire former AMS Councillor Teddy O’Donnell as this year’s elections administrator at last week’s meeting before it was cancelled, according to the public agenda. It is unclear if O’Donnell is still being considered for the position.

Science Councillor Katherine Feng asked where the money for this wage increase would come from. Bhangu said Council had approved an additional $2,880 in funding in an earlier motion, but did not specify the source of these funds.

Please sir, I want $3.9 million more

Councillors also approved a motion that allows the AMS to borrow an additional $3.9 million to repay the deficit from the Life Building renovations in 2016/17.

Matthew Ho asked for more context around the request to borrow $3.9 million.

Keith Hester, the AMS’s managing director, said the loan is intended to pay for the $3,982,526 the AMS spent in 2016/17 when renovating the lower level of the Life Building. He said the AMS resorted to “internal borrowing” after construction delays meant that it could not be covered by the loan it originally requested from UBC for the project.

Hester added that the loan will be added to the AMS’s current loan balance of $55 million, and will be repaid by the $100 SUB renewal student fee — which the AMS’s 2022/23 budget projects to bring in $5.5 million this year.

This motion also passed unanimously.