Former SGA chief of staff’s actions questioned

The student fee is $4 higher than it was in 2005 because of one man, an adviser to SGA said.SGA adviser Larry Markley said none of former SGA member Sebastian Moleski’s actions were illegal or against the SGA constitution, but Markley said he advised against several of them.

The SGA approved the bills written by Moleski because “he was a strong force,” Markley said.

Some of these actions included the wording of the bill that raised the student fee and locked $76,500 of the budget into the Student Activities Funding Board.

Markley said Moleski worked closely with then SGA President Dave Watson on several initiatives, one being the bill in November 2005 that raised the student fee $4.

Watson appointed Moleski as chief of staff after Watson defeated him in the 2004 SGA presidential race, Markley said.

“(Watson) created an office called the chief of staff for Sebastian to take political pressure off himself,” Markley said.

Markley said this wasn’t against any SGA rules, but there was no approval process since there was no precedent.

“He wasn’t approved by the House,” Markley said.

Watson, who graduated in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in business, is currently working for Gallup Polling in South Korea and was not available for comment.

Moleski, who graduated in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in business and is currently completing a master’s degree at a university in Berlin, gave an e-mail response.

“The position was created in discussion between Dave and myself,” Moleski said in the e-mail.

In the e-mail, Moleski said it was true the position was created specifically for him but did not elaborate further.

These actions, which occurred in spring 2005, included rewriting the constitution and altering the structure of the offices so there would only be a president, vice president and treasurer, doing away with the vice president of the House and secretary.

The duties of the vice president of the House were given to a newly created position, the speaker of the House of Representatives, while the secretary’s duties were given to the vice president, Moleski said in e-mail.

Moleski was named the first speaker of the House on Oct. 25, 2005, when a majority two-thirds vote was in favor of him but said he resigned before he took office.

“When I applied for (positions in SGA), I did so because I thought that I could make a difference for the student body,” Moleski said. “There were almost always other contestants, and the decision to appoint or elect me wasn’t made by me but by other students. So, no, I didn’t ‘love having power;’ I loved proposing ideas to problems SGA and the student body faced, supporting them with good preparation and sound arguments, deliberating and changing them when others found flaws, and seeing them happen.”

Thomas Guidry, a former member of SGA, said in an e-mail, “I wouldn’t be surprised if most of all (SGA’s) rules and regulations were changed by him at some point.”

Guidry said he remembered one instance when he strongly opposed Moleski on a bill altering the way elections were held but was unable to block him.

“Because there was no rules on what defined acceptable legislation, I basically had no ground to stand on except good moral backing,” Guidry said in the e-mail.

Most of Moleski’s changes were discouraged by the advisers, Markley said.

Markley said Moleski resented the advisers and frequently scheduled meetings so they could not be in attendance to offer their guidance.

Moleski responded in an e-mail saying he did not resent the advisers or hold meetings without their input.

“I’ve valued advisers being at meetings because they possess a great deal of experience that they can bring into the discussion,” Moleski said.

Moleski was asked to resign his post as director of finance for Programming Council in fall 2005 because of managing SGA funds in his personal account for matters pertaining to Family Weekend.

Moleski worked very closely with Watson during his time in office, and Watson originally campaigned for raising the student fee.

Learn more about why Watson wanted the increase and how he tried to persuade students to vote yes to Moleski’s bill tomorrow in the third part of this four part series.