Attorney General dismisses four of Senate President’s noncompliance complaints

Kathleen Godfrey

student government

UPDATE – 11/19/14 at 12:24 a.m. 

Attorney General Matthew Harris found no merit in four of the six noncompliance complaints, one of the four being against himself, Senate President Kaitlin Ramirez filed on Nov. 17. Ramirez then withdrew her remaining two complaints.

In an email sent at 11:23 a.m. on Nov. 18, Harris wrote that he will issue notices of dismissal for the four complaints he didn’t find merit in. He said he found no merit in the case against himself because it was a conflict of interest. He did not say why he dismissed the other three.

The three complaints Harris dismissed were against Student Body President Joseph Turner, Harris and Chief Justice Daniel Powers.

The two complaints Harris found merit in were against Senate President Pro-Tempore Shomari Gloster.

Ramirez sent her notices of noncompliance at 12:24 p.m. on Nov. 17 stating, “Transparency and accountability are paramount to serving the Student Body in a professional manner in keeping with the positions we hold. The law should not be selectively applied to certain individuals.”

Ramirez responded to Harris’ dismissal at 11:46 p.m. on Nov. 18 to formally withdraw her two complaints against Gloster. She wrote that she had not decided to file judicial appeals.

In an email to the Spinnaker, Ramirez said she wanted to remind senators that they have till Nov. 20 at 5 p.m. if they want to appeal Harris’ dismissal of the complaints. This is according to the SG constitution.

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Shortly before noon today, Nov. 17, Senate President Kaitlin Ramirez issued six notices of noncompliance against a member from each of the three branches of Student Government (SG).

Ramirez
Ramirez

Two of the complaints are against Senate President Pro-Tempore Shomari Gloster, two against Student Body President Joseph Turner, one against Attorney General Matthew Harris and one against Chief Justice Daniel Powers.

Ramirez’s first complaint against Turner is for the illegal creation of the lieutenant attorney general position. She notes Chapter 302.3 in the SG Constitution requires the president to notify the senate president in writing when a new executive branch position is created, and says he failed to do so.

Turner
Turner

Turner said he created the position and charged Harris with filing the paperwork, but there is no written confirmation to prove this.

The second complaint against Turner is for terminating an SG agency without approval of two-thirds of the Senate, citing Chapter 1100.5.

According to the complaint, Turner said on March 31 that a senator would be sponsoring a bill to remove the Volunteer Center from SG statutes. Senator Katherine Savage tabled the bill on April 7 to get feedback from the executive branch, according to the SG minutes on their website.

The complaint goes on to say there was never a vote put to Senate to remove the Volunteer Center from statutes. So, although the Volunteer Center was still in SG statutes, it never submitted a budget proposal to the Budget and Allocations Committee, according to the Jan. 31 minutes. In the minutes, Turner – who was treasurer at the time – said there was no longer a Volunteer Center.

Gloster
Gloster

The first complaint against Gloster is for not turning in updated Constitution and Statutes to Senate Secretary Leah Tolisano to be posted online by the 11-day deadline. The resulting failure to meet the deadline led Turner to file a complaint against Ramirez.

Ramirez’s second complaint against Gloster is for improperly adjourning the Nov. 10 senate meeting he chaired. According to Robert’s Rules, which the SG Constitution says must be followed as meeting procedure, there must be a vote to adjourn a meeting. Gloster did not call for this vote.

Harris
Harris

The complaint against Harris cites chapters 301, 302, 1303 and 307 as proof that Harris illegally created the position of lieutenant attorney general. According to the complaint, Turner has sole power to create a new position and appoint someone to that position.

According to the complaint, Harris failed to follow the following sections of procedure for creating this position: the appointment was not confirmed by the Government Oversight Committee, was not confirmed by a majority vote of Senate, and the position of Lt. AG was not advertised.

Powers
Powers

Ramirez’s complaint against Powers is for failing to post the judicial decision on her Oct. 8 hearing within 24 hours of the last argument during the punitive action hearing, as well as failing to post the judicial opinion within 48 hours of the hearing. This is according to Judicial Policies and Procedures. The Judicial P&P are not online, but are available upon public request.

The Spinnaker has requested interviews with Ramirez, Gloster, Turner, Harris and Powers, and is currently waiting for responses.

Email Lydia Moneir at [email protected]