SGA branches clash on fiscal responsibility
Published: Thursday, September 19, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 19, 2013 03:09
Student Body President Reid Joseph urged Student Senators to reconsider the current draft of an annual funding appropriation bill, which does not allocate all $50,000 of the Student Government Association fund but keeps $5,000 for emergency projects throughout the year.
Joseph said during the executive report portion of the Student Senate meeting that to his knowledge, it is more fiscally responsible to allocate all the money in the beginning of the year to ensure that students know where their money is going and fall back on existing SGA funds if emergency funds are needed.
Student Senate Finance Chair Cary Cheshire said the existing funds Joseph referred to included insecure funds — which could be reallocated at any time by the administration — and the idea behind saving $5,000 was to have an emergency fund that the senate has direct control over in case a project comes up during the year.
Reid said the existing funds in question are in the SGA reserve account and amount to $104,000 — $39,000 of which is accessible once the mandatory $65,000 two-month operating cost is removed. Reid said this, along with all other aspects surrounding the issue, need to be considered.
“I challenge and encourage each and every single person in [senate] to reach out to the [finance committee], to get the full story of what’s going on, and to get their side,” Joseph said.
Christopher Russo, speaker of the senate, said in a point of clarification during the meeting the Student Senate only has direct control of the original $50,000.
“Committees are allowed to request money from the SGA allocation at any time, but what I would suggest is that the only money senate has control over directly is that $50,000,” Russo said.
In a response to a later question posed by a senator, however, Joseph said Student Senate only has control over the budget to the extent that the SGA advisor permits it.
“The senate budget goes to my desk then [the SGA advisor] has to sign off on it,” Joseph said. “[The SGA advisor] can just sign off on it now. ”
Joseph said committees on the budget as it stands now will be extremely affected.
Joseph said that the solution boiled down SGA working as a whole to make sure that money was spent in a way that most helps committees perform at the highest standards.
“Without going into details or blaming, the finance allocation process this far has fallen short of our standards,” Joseph said. “In fact we can’t change what has been done, but I know we will do what’s best in moving forward.”
Joseph said SGA has a history of allocating resources wisely and asked the finance committee to reconsider.
“Think about the committees, who have had a track record every year of using our money wisely to serve our students,” Joseph said. “Why not trust them to continue to do the same?”
As the executive report takes place at the end of every general meeting, Cheshire was unable to directly refute Joseph’s statements.
The finance committee will meet at 7 p.m. Sept. 25 in Koldus 144 to review the bill. Any student senator is welcome to come, but only senators in the committee or permitted by the committee may speak on a topic being discussed.