By MARTY LEVINE
Staff Council officer elections, set for June, feature a larger slate than usual, and all the candidates but one are women.
The four candidates for president have already submitted statements to be considered by voters, who are restricted to the membership of Staff Council. Each candidate will answer questions at the organization’s May 19 meeting and voting will take place in June.
Staff Council members may be nominated for any number of offices, which are decided through a progression of votes, beginning with the top office of president and working its way through the remaining office. Losers of the presidential vote will stay on the ballot for the remaining offices for which they’ve been nominated, and voting will continue for executive vice president, vice president for finance, vice president for public relations and finally parliamentarian.
The new officers will assume their roles at the group’s July meeting. Andy Stephany has served as president since 2017. Officers must step down after two, two-year terms.
The presidential candidates are Angie Coldren (Office of Research Protections); Kelly Gilliam (Office of Human Resources); Jessica Lutz (Undergraduate Studies, Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences); and Lindsay Rodzwicz (Swanson School of Engineering). Among the reasons they have offered for their candidacy:
Rodzwicz (also running for parliamentarian; held previous office): “My main goal in Staff Council participation has always been to ensure that staff have equal representation in University shared governance. I think it is so very important that we use our collective voice for the benefit and interest of all staff.”
Coldren (also running for executive vice president, vice president of finance and parliamentarian; held previous office): “The issues we face today have pushed the University to be more flexible with schedules and remote work and to be more aware of inequities and injustices. Changes we are seeing today were ideas that were proposed 10 or 15 years ago.”
Lutz (also running for executive vice president and vice president for public relations): “I would love to see Pitt become a highly desirable place to work, not just because you can send your kids to Pitt for free if they can get in or get a degree for yourself, but because Pitt is leading the way by creating a culture of anti-racist inclusivity and offering benefits to intentionally attract and retain talent. When turnover is high and much of the remaining staff is too burnt out to feel invested or engaged, it affects everyone that comes into contact with the University.”
Gilliam (also running for executive vice president): “I want to continue to be a support to staff in ways such as effectively communicating issues of concern to University leadership; and partnering with leadership across the Pitt community in effort to improve staff well-being. … I want to carry on the advocacy that Staff Council has been doing for a permanent volunteer policy.”
Alongside the candidates above, running for the remaining officers are:
Executive vice president: Yvonne Brewster (School of Medicine); Kenny Doty (Swanson School; incumbent); and Jessica Townsend (School of Medicine).
Vice president for public relations: Amy Kleebank (Office of University Communications; incumbent); Jessica Townsend and Samantha Young (School of Pharmacy).
Vice president of finance: Yvonne Brewster and Monika Losagio (Dietrich School).
Parliamentarian: Christine Jackson (School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences) and April O'Neil (Office of Purchase, Pay and Travel).
Marty Levine is a staff writer for the University Times. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-758-4859.
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