The University of Connecticut Undergraduate Student Government (USG) Judiciary branch found President Priyanka Thakkar acted unconstitutionally in her recent appointment of Walter Dodson as interim-comptroller through an executive order according to USG records.
“The existence of such procedure within the Constitution indicates that the position of the comptroller is to remain unfilled until the next meeting of the Senate, and so the action of appointing any individual or group of individuals to fulfill the powers and functions of the comptroller is unconstitutional,” the Judiciary said.
Dodson was appointed on Sept. 18 after former Comptroller Dylan Nenadal was impeached on charges of neglecting his duties.
The document, called “Per Curiam Regarding Executive Order 01,” clarifies that the Executive Branch overstepped their established power. The president unilaterally gave Dodson the full power of the comptroller position when he should not have been given the position in this way, according to the document.
When questioned on the Per Curiam, Chief Justice Caleb Moore said the following:
“The judiciary and the executive branch had a disagreement on policy regarding the appointment of an interim comptroller. However, in collaboration with the legislative branch, we (the judiciary, executive and legislative branches) were able to come to an agreeable resolution. As of (Wednesday night), legislation was passed that satisfied all parties.”
Moore has been in the position since Wednesday when former Chief Justice Nicole Gagnon resigned.
When questioned on the Per Curiam, Thakkar said the following:
“In my capacity as President, to follow through on my constitutional mandate to ensure smooth operation of the organization, I issued an executive order to create the position of Interim-comptroller. This would ensure that a treasurer would be listed on UCONNTACT and to make sure the organization nor student groups would suffer. This position was created because the secession clause is vague and incomplete however it is imperative to have someone acting in a treasurer role.”
The Senate passed an amendment to the USG Bylaws outlining how to handle such appointments in the future. They decided upon a system where the President nominates a candidate and they are to be approved by a two-thirds Senate vote.
The approved “acting comptroller” will also not have the full power of the elected comptroller position, as they would have in the President’s Executive Order 01.
President Thakkar agreed to sign the legislation during the Senate meeting. However, it has yet to be signed into law at this time.
Moore also said there would not be consequences for the actions of the president as they reached an agreement on the procedure going forward.
Thumbnail photo by Brandon Barzola / The Daily Campus.
Mike Mavredakis is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets @mmavredakis.