Shakour transitions into SA president’s office

After a prolonged election marked by legal battles, Student Association President-elect Audai Shakour is making preparations for his transition into office.

Shakour, who beat Ben Traverse (CCAS-U) in a run-off election two weeks ago, said plans for his administration next year are progressing steadily. He has already begun working on his most important programs for the coming year, established relations with several University administrators and met with outgoing President Omar Woodard for advice and support.

The president-to-be said his main transition goals involve selecting cabinet members and an executive staff.

“Right now we’re taking applications for executives, directors and vice president,” Shakour said. “We have applications online and we will have applications in the SA office next week.” Students can find applications at his Web site, www.audaishakour.com.

Junior Ellen Wexler, who will be Shakour’s chief of staff next year, said interviews for executive positions are planned for April 16 and 17. She added that Audai has also met with Web developers to begin developing a GBay online marketplace, one of the candidate’s main campaign platforms.

“We’re looking to get everything done responsibly,” Wexler said. “We want to get tangible results for the students as soon as possible.”

Shakour said that aside from developing a Web portal and filling positions in his administration, another main focus of the transition phase is learning about the duties and responsibilities of the SA president.

“I’m meeting with Omar every Tuesday and Thursday, and I’ve been meeting with as many senators as possible,” he said, adding that Woodard has helped him establish relations with University officials, consider cabinet members and stay focused on his campaign platforms.

“Omar has been doing a lot. He put together a really nice binder with every aspect of the SA from how the office works to financial issues,” Shakour said.

“I told Audai to focus on three realistic goals and to try to have a tangible result,” Woodard said. “I stuck with three main goals and I accomplished two of the three. He shouldn’t move away from his platforms too much; he should just stick with those goals and he’ll be okay.”

While the current president said he has confidence in Shakour’s goals, he added that the junior’s lack of SA political experience may make things somewhat difficult.

“(The transition was) a bit easier for me than it will be for Audai,” Woodard said. “I had experience in the Senate and the previous president was a good friend of mine.”

But Shakour’s absence from the student government scene may provide the SA with a new viewpoint and a “fresh start,” he added.

Wexler said a goal of the new administration will be focusing more on student issues such as funding for on-campus groups and avoiding political bickering.

“Something the SA needs to focus on is less of the petty politics and more of the people-relations aspect,” she said.

Shakour said he does not think his SA inexperience should affect his administration too much.

“For the most part there aren’t any returning senators, and I’m new too – I think that will be really good.” he said. “It will be a break from the heavy politics and a new, fresh start.”

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