Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

SGA elects speaker Will Barto

SGA Senator Will Barto was elected speaker of the SGA Senate Thursday night, defeating Senator Ryan Flamerich in his bid for re-election to the top position in the Student Government Association’s legislative branch. Barto, a student in the College of Commerce and Business Administration who is beginning his second year in office, beat Flamerich by a 28-21 vote.

“I believe that the primary role of speaker of the Senate is to help other senators achieve their goals by giving them the tools that they need to succeed,” Barto said in a statement. “I plan on doing that this year.”

Barto, a junior majoring in accounting, said he thinks the Senate could have done a better job looking at issues from both sides over the past year.

“People very rarely agree in Senate, and I think that kind of looking at things from both sides of the issue and compromising is something that we, as a Senate body, not just the position [of speaker of the Senate], could have done better,” he said.

Flamerich, a junior majoring in chemical engineering and political science, was elected as a senator from the College of Engineering for his third year last month. He became the first speaker of the SGA Senate one year ago, after the new SGA Constitution — ratified in February 2011 — established the position.

Flamerich was also the first non-greek student elected to lead a political branch of the SGA in 25 years. Barto is a member of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity.

“Serving as speaker last year was a great opportunity, especially considering the obstacles that non-greek students often face in the SGA,” Flamerich said. “I wish Will well and look forward to working with him over the coming year.”

The speaker is elected by members of the Senate and is responsible for presiding over Senate meetings. The election is held by secret ballot, something Barto said he hopes to change.

“I’m a firm believer in transparency,” he said. “I feel like this vote should be a vote that’s open to our constituents.”

Barto sponsored several bills to eliminate secret ballots in the speaker election last year, but none of them ever received a vote on the Senate floor.

“The Rules and Ethics Committees tabled that legislation because the SGA Constitution says that all SGA elections must be done by secret ballot, and we have to follow what the Constitution says,” Flamerich said.

The speaker election was held at the second meeting of the SGA Senate to take place since the newly elected senators were sworn in two weeks ago. All 50 senators are elected annually during SGA elections in March, and they represent the University’s various colleges and graduate students.

The Senate also elected Parker Graham, a sophomore majoring in chemical engineering, to serve as secretary. Graham is beginning his first year as a senator from the College of Engineering.

“I’m really looking forward to the next school year,” Graham said. “I believe I’m there as secretary to make sure Senate is run smoothly so that we can progress as a body.”

In other business, the Senate confirmed the appointment of Brennan Johnson as SGA chief of staff. SGA president Matt Calderone appointed Johnson, who managed Calderone’s successful campaign for the SGA presidency last month.



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