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Budget reallocations questioned

Karen Langley | Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Controversy marked the Council of Representatives (COR) meeting Monday night, as representatives voiced their dissatisfaction with the procedures taken by the Financial Management Board (FMB) to arrive at its new budget allocation, which affected the Judicial Council, Class of 2006, Senior Week, Hall Presidents Council, Class of 2008 and the Student Union Board (SUB).

Representatives of Hall Presidents Council (HPC) said that FMB did not follow proper procedures in its reallocation meetings.

“The process that went on during the reallocation meetings wasn’t judicial,” HPC treasurer T.R. Eckler said. “There was a lot of mention of members’ feelings about different clubs. I feel as though at the very least, there needs to be a message sent back to FMB that the process needs to be reviewed so it can be done in a fair and impartial way.”

The spending review occurred the week before Thanksgiving, when representatives of the six groups involved presented their budgets to FMB, noting what they had spent thus far in the semester and what funds they projected needing to carry them through the semester, Student Union treasurer and FMB president Mike Marshall said.

“My opinion is you [had] better get it right because there are a lot of people who need this money,” Hall Presidents Council co-chair Dan Zenker said. “If it’s going to be $40,000, it should be done the proper way.”

Zenker suggested that, unless clubs needed their reallocated funds immediately, the budget be sent back to FMB for further consideration.

“[Sending the budget back to FMB] would hurt as far as SUB, and therefore the student body, is concerned,” SUB president Jimmy Flaherty said. “I think it would be a huge error to slow this process down.”

Flaherty noted that SUB’s pending contracts – including some for events as early as mid-February – cannot be finalized without the budget reallocations.

Marshall agreed that a procedural revamping would benefit future reallocations but suggested that COR approve the current budget revisions.

“The process is certainly not what it should be, but to prevent the reallocation would be against everybody’s best interests at this point,” he said.

While FMB may have issues with its reallocation procedures, these do not involve members’ considerations of their feelings about each student group, Marshall said, adding that the Student Union’s funds must be allocated in such a way that students will gain the most.

“It’s not an easy process because people’s feelings do need to be taken into consideration,” Marshall said. “If people think students will benefit more from one event, they should vote that way.”

Marshall’s concerns focused around the long periods between the annual budget reallocations.

“Tomorrow at the FMB meeting, we’re going to talk about possibly having a monthly or [bi-monthly] spending review like this where money can be taken away and reallocated accordingly,” Marshall said. “It doesn’t seem to be the best way to meet just once in the middle of the year.”

Student Body president Dave Baron emphasized that the approval of this series of reallocations does not close the door for future revisions of the reallocation process.

“In the constitution, it says FMB is responsible for budget reallocation, but it doesn’t have to be just once a month,” Baron said. “We’re not solidifying the way budgets are approved.”

The budget was approved with 10 votes in favor, one opposed and one abstention.

In other COR news:

u Beth O’Shaughnessy, Club Coordination Council (CCC) president, moved to switch the Monday meeting times of COR and CCC, which currently meet at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., respectively. The movement was approved without opposition and will take effect in January.