The Students’ Union are to hire a General Manager for the start of the next academic term. The employee would be considered a senior member of staff within the organisation and would be responsible for assisting in the long-term development of the Union, assuming administrative and financial duties.
“One of my priorities between now and the end of the year is to hire a General Manager; it’s part of an overall refocusing of our resources and our structures,” stated Students’ Union President Pat de Brún, “it’s essentially moving towards having better staff structures and better continuity. I think it’s an important role; most well-developed students’ unions across the UK and Ireland have general manager roles.”
One of the main reasons for hiring a manager would be to increase support for sabbatical officers, “in order to strengthen the SU”, explains de Brún. “In the past a lot of our focus has gone on officer budgets, where the backup and the staff support for the officers have not been good enough”. [The General Manager] can help from officer training to the commercial aspects, to just having cohesion and some level of continuity in some sort, for long-term projects.”
There is currently no General Manager in place, although a Commercial Manager has been hired on a short-term basis. The Commercial Manager and the SU President are currently carrying out the majority of what will become the General Manager’s responsibilities. “It wouldn’t be suitable to expect the SU President to do this next year or any year after that. I don’t think it’s the focus that we should have”, de Brún said.
The addition of a General Manager does not require the Union’s Constitutional referendum to pass, although de Brún hopes that a combination of the two would resolve many of the financial issues surrounding the Union. “If the constitution passes, the financial responsibilities will be clearly laid out. The Finance Committee and the President are ultimately responsible, not the staff members, [and the General Manager is responsible] in terms of the administrations of finances. It’s separate from the Constitution but I would like to view it as part of all of this new change.”
The job will be open to applicants both inside and outside the University. Advertising for the position will begin shortly, and interviews will be carried out before the end of term. “There are a lot of good people out there, so hopefully the calibre of candidates will be good”, commented de Brún.
The General Manager contract has yet to be finalised but would be likely to last three to five years.