Executive Board

Union hires Cait Bennett ’23G without Executive Board approval

Previous Grand Marshal Cait Bennett ’23G was hired as an Administrative Specialist for the Rensselaer Union. However, she was hired under the discretion of the Director of the Union Dr. Charlie Potts without the knowledge and approval of the Union Executive Board. As per the Union Constitution, the E-Board “shall approve the hiring and continuance of all administrative personnel of the Union.”

With this knowledge, President of the Union Cat Philipps ’24 called for an emergency E-Board meeting on Thursday, March 21, 2024. The board began asking Potts about the situation and why he would go against the rules of processes. In his discussion, Dr. Potts explained more about the role, saying that it is a temporary, part-time job until June 24, 2024. Bennett will be working as a research assistant to look at student government trends, but once it was released that Administrative Specialist Jackie Zysk was leaving, the job for Bennett became a little bit more involved. Now in addition to research, she will be helping to back up RPI’s Event Managing System. Dr. Potts explained that because of the initial requirements for the role, he didn’t realize it would be on the level of administrative staff. Dr. Potts experienced a similar incident back in 2019 when he was hired without E-board approval. In regards to the incident with Bennett, Potts was very upfront, saying multiple times that his choice to hire Bennett without approval was unintentional and wrong.

Once the board questioned Dr. Potts, they began asking Bennett about her side of the story. Bennett was told to apply to a generic hire position in February and heard back in March to begin working. In her mind, the hiring process had no issues until it came up in conversation that Philipps didn’t know Bennett had been hired.

As a two-time Grand Marshal, Bennett is very knowledgeable of Union rules and regulations. The E-Board then asked why she hadn’t brought up or questioned the fact she wasn’t required to stand in front of the board. As a part-time worker and someone they knew well, Bennett said she had speculated that the hiring approval had been done in the backend. Additionally, she expressed that as the person being hired, not helping with the process, she “felt like it wasn’t quite [her] place to be trying to assert [the E-Board approval] within the process of hiring.”

Once hearing from both Dr. Potts and Bennett, the board discussed their next steps. The board then decided to have a closed interview for Bennett, in which The Poly was not in the room. When the meeting reopened to the public, the board decided to vote to retroactively approve Bennett as an Administrative Specialist. The motion passed 11-0-1. Following that, the board stated they would decide how they would respond to Dr. Potts’ actions at a later date.

This Executive Board meeting was held on Thursday, March 21. The next E-Board meeting is Thursday, March 28 at 7 pm in the Shelnutt Gallery.

DIRECTOR OF THE UNION DR. CHARLIE POTTS ANSWERS questions on the hiring of Bennett. Anna Zuniga/The Polytechnic