The VP Finance and Operations position was split into two separate positions this year, VP Operations and VP Finance. The VP Finance portfolio includes ensuring the long-term financial stability of SSMU in cooperation with the General Manager, overseeing funding and operations management committees, providing the Executive Committee and Board of Directors with regular reports on the financial status of SSMU, and developing the annual budget of SSMU, among other tasks.
Carolan is a U3 Strategic Management and Accounting student. He is currently the SSMU Club Auditor, the senior accountant for the Management Undergraduate Society (MUS), and a member of the Funding Committee. Outside of McGill, he worked as the Finance and Operations Manager for a chain of Tim Hortons franchises in the Greater Vancouver area.
Carolan has emphasized his desire to help as many students as possible through the VP Finance position. As such, he cites streamlining the club funding application process as one of the main pillars of his campaign, since many have expressed frustration over how long it takes for funding requests to be approved. This would involve standardizing event budget applications, holding a meeting with all available McGill club financial representatives at the beginning of each semester, and potentially overhauling the funding committee structure. Carolan also seeks to make SSMU’s finances more accessible and transparent for students by putting relevant information on the SSMU website.
As this is the first year that the VP Finance portfolio does not include operations, Carolan plans to work closely with the VP Operations to ensure the long- and short-term financial stability of SSMU. He further recognizes the need for constant communication with the VP Operations to ensure that operational decisions match the financial context in which they are made.
While Carolan recognizes the political nature of SSMU, he believes the VP Finance position should not be politicized, going so far as to say that if the VP Finance focused on politics this would be detrimental to their work. Carolan maintains that SSMU should represent all students’ interests, and thus only take a political stance if that is what the students want. Asked about the tension between leadership and representing a diverse student body, Carolan said that both should be taken into account when making decisions collectively.
Endorsement: Yes, with reservations
Carolan is an exceptionally qualified candidate, with impressive financial experience both at McGill and in external contexts. His platform directly and thoroughly addresses the issue of delayed and disorganized club funding – a major complaint – and demonstrates a robust understanding of the position’s responsibilities.
However, Carolan appears to subscribe to the common misconception that the VP Finance position is, and should be, thoroughly apolitical. He has also expressed a desire to seek out corporate sponsorships and wants to reprioritize the commercial tenants in the Shatner building, indicating a lesser emphasis on student-run services. Ironically, of course, these are deeply political priorities.
As such, The Daily endorses a “yes” vote, with reservations.