After five months, the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) has hired a new General Manager following the departure of Michelle Lee-Fullerton, who left the position after only two months on the job.
In a statement emailed to The Varsity, UTSU President Anne Boucher said that the new General Manager, whose name has not been disclosed yet, will start work on December 10.
“We’ve followed a thorough and extensive hiring process for the General Manager,” Boucher said.
“A General Manager plays an important role in the day-to-day and success of the UTSU,” Boucher said. “So it’s important to us that the position be filled not only by the most qualified & capable candidate, but by one who respects and works in line with the UTSU’s core principles.”
The reasons for Lee-Fullerton’s departure were not revealed “due to legal constraints, and out of respect for the individual,” Boucher said at the time.
The General Manager post was created this year to replace the Executive Director position and is meant to serve as a link between the student union’s executive team and the operations staff, as well as to help oversee special projects.
Tka Pinnock, the most recent Executive Director, left the UTSU at the end of the last academic year, after three years.
Since Lee-Fullerton’s departure in July, the regular duties and responsibilities of the General Manager have been taken up by Boucher and UTSU Vice-President Operations Tyler Biswurm in their capacity as members of the management committee.
The General Manager position is particularly important to helping the UTSU develop the long-awaited Student Commons, a student-run centre that is currently slated to open in April, after it was delayed twice from its original September opening. The Student Commons has been in the works for 11 years.
In the absence of the General Manager, former UTSU president Mathias Memmel was contracted by the organization for Student Commons planning and basic financial responsibilities.
“His financial responsibilities include payroll, record keeping, and the issuing of cheques — essentially ensuring that employees get paid, and clubs and levies receive disbursements owed,” Boucher explained.
“His Student Commons-related duties include preparatory tasks i.e. coordination of renovations, liaising with those active on the project (e.g. architects, consultants, etc), and producing operating plans that reflect the UTSU’s vision for the building.”
Memmel’s continued role within the UTSU past his presidential term raised questions from members at the Annual General Meeting, particularly because his role was not well-defined at the time.
“I understand the UTSU’s decision to contract out work to a former executive was met with skepticism at our Annual General Meeting, which alleged that it is improper for him to report to me,” Boucher said. “I don’t believe for a second that this would be a concern if I were a man. To question my authority and ability as a female President to manage a former leader is offensive.”