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Student Judiciary orders new procedure for chief of staff nomination

Andy McWhorter

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The SGA Senate will be required to explain any further rejections of President Elliot Spillers’ chief of staff nominations to the Student Judiciary for a panel review, according to a decision signed and ordered Saturday, April 18.

The Senate has rejected Spillers’ first two nominations for the position, which must be filled before any other positions in the Executive Cabinet can be confirmed by the senate. Chisolm Allenlundy was rejected by a vote of 32-13 on Tuesday, April 7, and Douglas Logan was rejected by a vote of 25-12 on Tuesday, April 14.

Under the new procedure outlined in the decision, the Senate will be required to “submit a suitable and detailed explanation of all the reasons as to why the candidate(s) were rejected and would be unfit to serve as the SGA Chief of Staff.” The six associate justices included in the decision will then decide whether or not the Senate’s justification is sufficient. The justices will then “release this decision along with the Senate’s explanation for the rejection to the student body.”

The decision also orders the Senate establish a provision in the SGA Code of Laws regarding the time required to appoint a chief of staff as well as the Senate’s power to reject such an appointment.

The judiciary further ordered that the legislative and executive branches establish a formal process for the rejection and confirmation of candidates for appointed positions. According to the order, Brennan Johnson, who served as chief of staff under SGA Presidents Matt Calderone and Jimmy Taylor, did not have any executive experience in SGA before his appointment. One of the explanations given for Allenlundy’s rejection was his lack of executive experience.

“This case served to highlight the absence of a formal procedure for the SGA Senate’s rejection of a candidate for an appointed position,” Chief Justice Akeisha Young wrote. “In light of the fact that confirming or rejecting can be at time contentious – as it is in the present case, the SGA should do everything in its power to promote public confidence in its work and decisions.

“As it stands now, the SGA Senate is not bound by any policy in their governing documents to confirm or reject the candidate for an appointed position. Consequently, they are able to arbitrarily confirm candidates they favor and reject candidates they do not favor. It is important that this scenario cannot play out in future confirmation proceedings conducted by the SGA Senate.”

The full text of the decision is available here:

  Final Order in Chief of Staff Judicial Review

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Student Judiciary orders new procedure for chief of staff nomination