By Zack Plair
The Student Government Association voted Monday to deny a resolution that would set up a mechanism to review and approve the budget and expenditures monthly.
J.W. White, SGA Military Science senator, sponsored a senate resolution for budget oversight, which would have created a committee of four SGA senators and two at large students to review a monthly SGA budget and approve all expenditures, including stipends and those out of petty cash.
"There have been some questionable things done in the past," White said. "Just about every organization has a mechanism in place to review their budget. There is nothing in our bylaws that gives the senate the power to review the budget after the senate reviews the yearly budget," he added.
White said he felt students need more say in where their money is going and he felt this resolution would hold down spending above and beyond the proposed yearly budget.
However, Josh Hamby, SGA College of Agriculture senator, spoke out against White's resolution at the meeting and said it was not allowing the staff to do the jobs they were elected to do.
"The student body elected us and have entrusted us to represent them to the best of our ability," Hamby said. "I believe we should put faith in our president and vice president and let them do their jobs."
The SGA president is given the power through the organization's constitution to deviate from the yearly budget without approval from the senate. Last year alone, former SGA president Sach Oliver allocated $500 of stipend money for two senators that were not required to be approved by the Senate.
In addition, White said, a $300 stipend was given to SGA vice president Jake Hampton in January 2003, who was then serving as chief of staff and interim parliamentarian, without the approval of the senate, when Oliver appointed him to be the official parliamentarian in the spring semester. However, Article 4, Section 2 of the SGA constitution says when a student is appointed to fill the positions of parliamentarian or secretary, the Senate has the authority to approve those positions. White said the Senate did not approve Hampton's appointment as official parliamentarian until February.
Hampton said Oliver gave him the $300 stipend to pay for his service as interim parliamentarian in the fall 2002 semester, and he opted not to receive a parliamentarian stipend for the spring semester following his appointment.
Hampton added that money spent by the SGA was approved and reviewed by the office of finance and had been totally within the rules and regulations of the SGA.
"We already have certified people who, I would say, are experts in the financial field to look at the money the SGA spends," Hampton said.
Hampton also said he and SGA President Shelley LunBeck were committed this year to keeping the budget within the realms it was set in the approved yearly budget and there would be no overspending.
In other business, SGA adviser Pete Green announced SGA has joined the newly formed American Student Government Association (ASGA), which is a national network of student government organizations headed by Butch Oxedine, publisher of Student Leader magazine. Green said ASU is one of 100 founding members in the organization and he feels their membership will be a very beneficial tool to the SGA and the university.
"This organization is going to be an advocate for our SGA, as well as a great lobbying and networking tool, so we can see how other SGA's across the nation are handling similar situations to our own," Green said.
Green also said ASGA is looking at the university for a regional or national conference upon completion of the new Reng Center.
"This opportunity would be great because it would highlight our new $36 million Student Union as well as our SGA and university," Green said.
The SGA also passed a resolution to propose the removal of the run-off elections in the spring and would allow the regular election, which is now held in March, to be moved to later in the semester.
Pam Cummings, SGA Department of Social Sciences senator and sponsor for the bill, said voting in warmer weather might improve voter turnout and to do so, the election could not allow for a run-off.
The proposed amendment will be placed on the ballot, along with seven freshman senator seats, for the Fall SGA election to be held Sept. 11.
The SGA will hold their next regular meeting at 5 p.m. Sept. 9, on the eighth floor of the library.