At its August 29 meeting, the AMS Council unanimously voted to effectively replace one of its standing committees without consulting the existing group.
Following a lengthy closed discussion, Council voted to create an ad hoc hiring committee comprised of three non-executive councillors chaired by law councillor Dylan Braam. The committee is tasked with recommending candidates to the roles of AMS Ombudsperson and elections administrator.
To create the new committee, Council also voted to temporarily suspend the segment of AMS code that assigns those duties to the permanent Human Resources (HR) committee, effectively replacing it.
"The ad hoc committee will allow for the hiring of these positions in an expedited format," said AMS VP Academic and University Affairs Max Holmes who motivated the resolution.
AMS HR Committee Chair Hannah Xiao was not present at the meeting because it was originally supposed to take place on August 22, but was rescheduled because multiple executives were not able to attend. She said that her committee was not consulted on the motion, which was not included in the meeting’s original agenda but was introduced by Holmes following the closed session.
“It was a surprise to me, and I’m sure it was probably a surprise to others as well,” said Xiao.
Xiao said the ad-hoc committee’s unexpected formation may have done more harm than good, noting that while HR committee had difficulty finding candidates for the Ombudsperson role, it was due more to the nature of the position than the committee’s progress.
“The qualifications [for the Ombudsperson role] are higher than most other AMS jobs, so there is that looking for the right candidate and having the right candidate apply,” she said.
She also noted that key members of the HR committee — like the senior HR manager and AMS President Marium Hamid — weren’t present for much of her term: the former position is vacant, and Hamid was not in the country for much of July and August.
Xiao believes the formation of the new committee may have ultimately slowed the process. Despite this, she said that the committee had accomplished most of its key goals and was ready to hire by the first week of September, and that the executive was aware of this before they voted to create the new committee.
“We were on track to meet that goal, so I would say the hiring committee formation was unnecessary,” said Xiao.
Hamid said the ad hoc committee was formed because of the urgent need for the two roles as constituency elections and the school year approached.
“We just wanted to make sure we’d have two of these individuals vital to the society up here and running.” she explained, adding that the HR committee is approaching a transition period.
“An ad hoc [committee] was better suited to it than having HR committee meet.”
On September 12, the AMS Council will vote whether to confirm Ombudsperson candidate Jun Zhou Frank Ju to the position. Hamid indicated that an offer was also being made to a candidate for the elections administrator position.
Hamid was not able to comment on concerns expressed during the closed session or any of the concerns raised by Xiao, but defended the committee’s formation.
“An executive felt at that time necessary to make sure that Council was abreast with how hiring was going … and Council decided collectively that it was in the best interest of the society to have a committee struck.” she said.
“In the democratic way, it was the right thing to do.”