SSMU VP Finance & Operations Tobias Silverstein will resign January 2, 2009, as announced Monday without an accompanying explanation as to what triggered his decision.
“I have been contemplating resignation for a while,” Silverstein stated in a SSMU press release. “I will continue to work with SSMU, the other executives, and the office staff to help facilitate a smooth transition.”
He gave no further indication of why he resigned.
Silverstein won the portfolio by acclamation during a by-election process after VP-elect Peter Newhook resigned before his term began.
According to Rushil Mistry, who considered running for the position last spring, the portfolio had an overwhelming task list.
“It’s a really a big commitment and a lot of people don’t recognize how much work it is,” he said. “Not only are you dealing with SSMU finances, but you’re dealing with Haven [Books] – which was a terrible investment – and SSMU’s $1-million investment fund.”
According to SSMU President Kay Turner, it will be incredibly difficult to transition a new VP Finance, as SSMU executives rely on their first three months in office – June, July, and August – to familiarize themselves with their portfolio.
“Not only are they not going to have the summer [to adjust], but it’s going to take all of second semester for them to learn how to do their job,” Turner said.
Despite this challenge, SSMU Council will discuss his resignation in confidential session tonight, and elect a new vice-president from amongst its members, provided there are applicants, on November 27. Both Silverstein and Turner have indicated that they will make it a priority to make the new executive comfortable in their position.
Should no replacement be found, however, Turner felt confident that SSMU would be able to compensate by hiring a secretary general, an additional finance commissioner – a non-political position – and transferring responsibilities and powers to the President.
“SSMU isn’t going to fall apart because we don’t have a VP Finance & Operations,” she said. “We can still provide good service to students and good representation.”
She explained that most major decisions are made after consultation with the executives of committees– so the way SSMU makes decisions is not contingent on whether or not they have an executive.
The most challenging aspect of Silverstein’s resignation, according to Turner, will be ensuring operations run effectively in the committees on which the VP Finance traditionally sits – investment, finance, financial ethics research, budget, and operations.
After repeated requests for interview, Silverstein refused to comment.