Student government lost in budget process

Former paid staff members of student government left the mostly volunteer assembly in a budget bind when they quit their jobs this summer.

Assembly members have failed to pass a spending budget two times this semester. In prior years, it has passed before the start of the fall semester.

The assembly is struggling to make sense of three-draft budgets left by a former assistant director of student leadership and a former administrative assistant, said USUAA president John Roberson III. Neither position has been refilled.

“USUAA would better serve the students if we did things in a professional manner,” he said. “The budget in the forms that we passed wasn’t complete.”

On Sept. 28, the assembly passed the budget without presentation to Roberson, which he said violates their constitution. A second failed attempt to pass the budget was made Oct. 5.

According to an interoffice memo sent to The Northern Light by Roberson, the second failed draft listed more hours of payment than it allotted for a government relations director.

The assembly will make corrections to pass the budget by Oct. 19, he said. Students shouldn’t notice any negative effects caused to the boards that depend on this delayed budget, including Media Board, Club Council and the Board of Cultural Awareness.

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Roberson was the 2006-07 chair of the finance committee.

In a prepared statement John Wilcox, current finance committee chair, said the budget should have been passed in the spring semester under former president Anthony Rivas when Roberson was chair of the committee.

He called the current situation he faces “a shame” and urged the assembly and his finance committee to pass a budget that will make approval.

“It’s a young assembly,” he said in a phone interview. “There’s a need for some more education.”

The assembly has had success in its dealing with the budget by shifting the oversight of the recycling program, he said.