KnightNews.com and the Central Florida Future newspaper were copied on an e-mail former UCF SGA President Logan Berkowitz sent to current embattled President Michael Kilbride over Kilbride’s weekend luxury getaway spending scandal that led WFTV to report how students wanted him impeached.
Here’s the e-mail an unedited responses in which Logan restated the questions and pasted his responses:
(Logan’s video response will be up later tonight)
from Logan Berkowitz
date Wed, Aug 4, 2010 at 4:41 PM
subject SGA Scandal Questions to Former SGA President
hide details 4:41 PM (6 hours ago)
Hey guys. I know you are all writing stories about the SGA Scandal or whatever. Someone asked me to answer all these questions. (from my investigative work I am sure it is a friend of the president) I figured it would be helpful in any stories you have upcoming or questions you want answered.
I added Christa in here because she was my favorite person in SGA
I know its sad but this stuff is still real exciting to me 🙂 The boring life after College…..
Note: Mike Kilbride Was First to Bring SGA to a Five Star, Luxury Resort for SGA Retreat:
If you brought double the people on your cabinet retreat, doesn’t it mean you paid double the salaries of the Kilbride cabinet, which is WAY over $8000?
Yes and No. I had a lot of people on cabinet who were paid much less then some of the members of Mikes. In the end my staff probably made the same or maybe a little more money.
Yet didn’t you accomp…lish absolutely nothing with your cabinet, other than pissing off everyone by hiring Nick Merolle with a $600 per week salary to “advise” you (i.e. bully everyone else in Student Government to the point of being loathed by everyone) and not have him confirmed by Senate?
Isn’t is obvious that you had a cabinet twice as large as Kilbride’s just so that you could pay all your friends money for doing absolutely nothing??
I guess you can say some of the people who I had high hopes for did not accomplish as much as we would of liked but in the end we accomplished all but one or two of our initial goals. A lot comes up throughout the year so it is tough to determine how the year will go during campaigning (1 year before taking office)
Can you please name one meaningful thing that Andrew Johnson accomplished as your “Student Informational Specialist”?
Andrew was knowledgeable about Senate and kept me in the loop of a lot of inside deals. He did some good surveying of freshman which we took the data and decided on new programming for young students.
Can you name one thing that your “Diversity Initiatives Specialist” actually accomplished?
Diversity Initiatives was one area that I felt was really strong. This person did a great job keeping communication open between SGA and the Multicultural students. This person also had a difficult job because MSC and SGA had some turmoil.
Or how about your “Director of Special Projects”, Anthony Furbush?
Can you please name one meaningful “Special Project” that he completed?
This individual did a lot of things outside of the scope of his position. He always assisted other cabinet members since his responsibilities were broad. In the end he began the discussion regarding alternative transportation for ucf students which I think is implemented now. He was also a major advocate for the rec and wellness center.
And why do you think that paying someone (i.e., Nick Merolle) $600 every two weeks for “advice” is a wise expenditure of student funds, especially given the alleged criminal accusations against him outside of Florida?
I am unaware of any criminal accusations. I felt Nick had so much experience that people in SGA would be excited to work with him so his experience in SGA as well as having a Masters degree made me feel the salary was justified. In the end this decision did backfire on me and I can admit now it did not work as I had planned.
Why did you authorize paying Max Friedman student money for a Greek Council website he never made?
That is something I do not have knowledge about. Max Friedman is honestly one of the most intelligent people I have met. His marketing tactics are still present in SGA today and a lot of the things you see around campus were his idea.
Why did you pay cabinet members to campaign in Senate elections to help get your friends elected?
How is that fiscally responsible, or in ANY way ethical or legal?
I always thought it was important to make sure good people were elected and yes in the end a lot of them happened to be friends of mine. I just felt their views were similar to mine. I think I gave a kid 40 bucks because he had to take off work and struggled paying his bills. That was the extent of donating to help people.
And speaking of fiscal responsibility, why DIDN’T YOU go to Governor Crist’s meeting with the other Student Body Presidents over Spring Break (apparently because you had a final exam that week, lolz!) and lobby against new student fees?
I actually was at that meeting. The picture is on my desk. If there was another opportunity I am sure I had important business to attend to.
Why, when you did go to that meeting the year before when you were VICE President, did you lobby FOR new student fees???
I was in 100 support of raising tuition but that day I did not lobby for new fees. Students in Florida get quite the bang for their buck and honestly tuition is too cheap for the level of education we expect. It is impossible to keep good faculty and staff members when other states can pay them more.
Why did you side WITH the UCF administration on establishing a TECHNOLOGY FEE that costs students 5% of tuition per year despite the Student Senate overwhelmingly objecting to it in a resolution??
Why did you LIE to Senators and say that you would support the Senate’s stance on it but then voted for the fee at the Board of Trustees meeting???
I think I said I would bring the Senates stance to the BOT. I never said I would support it. I felt more money in the technology side could get some of our older classrooms up to speed.
Why did you not advertise to the student body for Student-at-Large positions on the A&SF Budget Committee and give average students input on how their student money gets spent?
I think we advertised but obviously not well enough.
Why are you dodging responsibility for your OWN $8000 cabinet retreat?
I stated we spent 8,000 plus on our retreat. I just was not able to bring my people to a resort and go to Disney. Who knows, if we had the money maybe I would of.
Actually, why are you lying about how much spent on that retreat?
Why does the ASF database show that you actually went $2500 over budget on your retreat and payed $10,500 for it?
If ASF says 10,500 then it must be correct
How do you think a $10,500 cabinet retreat is more justifiable that Kilbride’s retreat?!
Never said it was or was not. I just said that we did a good job making sure all expenditures were fair and ethical for the amount of people we had.
Why do you think, given everything above, you were more “fiscally responsible” than President Kilbride?
Tough to compare. Never had an issue with Kilbride. I saw him do Knightton and he did an amazing job. This is one poor decision that sadly will haunt him now.