An accounting discrepancy in the Associated Students’ 2005-06 budget forced A.S. Legislative Council to reconsider a revised financial plan Wednesday night, even though it approved an incorrect version at last week’s meeting.
Leg Council approved A.S. President Cervin Morris’ original budget at its meeting last week, but an A.S. accountant noticed a discrepancy that left a surplus of $32,000. Off-Campus Rep Adam Graff said the error was a result of a Finance Board miscalculation. According to the A.S. Legal Code, Finance Board must submit their projection of the budget to the president.
“It was either a clerical error or done intentionally,” Graff said.
With the $32,000 surplus, Morris said he allocated an additional $16,000 to A.S. boards and committees. He said he left the remaining money in the unallocated fund, which Finance Board uses to give to student groups for events. Council members once again consented to approve the budget, but reopened it for consideration near the end of their meeting when Student Lobby co-chair Lance Tackett challenged them for not discussing the changes in-depth. Council members eventually tabled the budget until next week’s meeting.
Tackett said if more money has been found, certain A.S. boards and committees should receive more money than they had in Morris’ presented budget.
“I can’t believe there was no discussion of the bill,” Tackett said. “That’s a lot of fucking money. We’re fighting for scraps in A.S … and there are several discrepancies [in the budget].”
Tackett also argued that he other members of the public were not given enough prior notice about the budget changes because it was added to the meeting’s agenda at the beginning of Wednesday’s meeting.
“It wasn’t on the [meeting’s] agenda,” Tackett said. “We didn’t have the opportunity to speak on this and I think it is awesome … that you had the privilege of being informed and the public didn’t. The vast majority of people were not made aware of this. Give the students, the people you serve, a chance to speak on it.”
Off-Campus Rep Chaz Whatley said boards and committees received what they needed and deserved in Morris’ new budget and ample time was given to make changes. She also said Leg Council members, who sit on the various A.S. entities, did not object to the budget. Whatley also said she did not think more discussion of the budget was necessary.
“I did my homework,” Whatley said. “I knew where the money was going. I had no problem with this budget. If [he] had a problem why didn’t [Tackett] speak on it earlier? … [Morris] explained [how] he allocated and none of the 22 people in this room objected.”
Tackett said other groups’ funding increased in the revised budget while Student Lobby only received $2,050 in both versions. He said Student Lobby is desperate for funds, especially after its 69-cent lock-in fee initiative failed in the recent Spring Quarter elections.
Rep-At-Large Kristen Ditlevsen questioned why Tackett was concerned with the budget since Student Lobby received the full amount it requested in the budget process.
Tackett responded to Ditlevsen’s inquiry, saying Student Lobby vice chair Kelly Burns had made an error in her budget presentation to Finance Board.
“The vice chair was to submit a budget and at the last minute she turned in the same budget from last year,” he said.
Ditlevsen also said Leg Council had properly represented the student body’s interests by not giving more money to Student Lobby since past elections did not seem to favor the Student Lobby.
“The Student Lobby lock-in fee didn’t pass,” Ditlevsen said.” “I think that should be taken into consideration.”
Tackett also said council members should reconsider the $600 decrease in funds allocated to A.S. Queer Commission.
Morris said he had reduced the Queer Commission’s funds because it has not held regular weekly meetings. Rep-At-Large Rudy Lopez, Leg Council representative to Queer Commission, said the group has not held a single meeting this school year.
“We’ve had a lot of complaints,” Morris said. “We’ve had [complaints written in] chalk in front of the [MultiCultural Center] and people saying ‘Cervin is homophobic.’ No, I’m not. I’m not paying $1,200 for one meeting. They also had a rollover of $300 that was not used.”