Financial guidelines established

Senate passes budget accountability proposal

Julia Battishill, News Editor

ASSP Vice President of Finance Liam Smith brought his anticipated “Budget Accountability Guidelines” proposal to the senate floor this week and was met by a nearly-unanimous yes, two abstentions, and no nays.

The proposal, officially named “2019-2020-005 NF Budget Accountability Guidelines,” aims to establish a more concrete set of rules regarding financial responsibility of SPU’s operational groups.

“Operational groups,” in this case, refers to Office Core, Catalyst and media groups — KSPU, Cascade, The Falcon and Lingua. Smith clarified in the meeting that the guidelines do not apply any other clubs or groups.

Smith said that these new guidelines include penalties if a group goes over their allotted budget and incentives to finish under budget.

Keaton Dixson
Vice President of Finance, Liam Smith describes his new finance proposal to other campus senators.

Previously, if a group did not spend their full budget, the extra money went to ASSP’s contingency fund, which they use in the case of unexpected expenses or “financial trouble” as Smith put it. With the new guidelines, 50% of the extra funds will instead roll over into the organization’s own budget, with the other 50% going to the contingency fund.

Conversely, should a group go over budget, they will begin a two-year probation period entailing a reduction of funds for the following year and a higher level of financial scrutiny by ASSP. Funds will be reduced by 50% of however much they exceeded budget the previous year.

Executive Vice President Nate Canny invited the leadership of each media group and Catalyst to attend the meeting. During the designated periods of questioning and debate, the representatives were able to ask clarifying questions or make points about the proposal.

K’reisa Cox, business manager for The Falcon served as a representative of the organization during the meeting. Cox asked if roll-over surplus funds would be included in the allocation board’s consideration of a group’s budget for the next year and, therefore, potentially affect the group’s revenue targets.

Smith clarified that it would not; the expectation for revenue would remain the same in the eyes of allocation board regardless of how much of the previous year’s budget had rolled over.

Keaton Dixson
Andrew Josselyn, Vice President of Campus Activities talks about his ideas in the Monday Night Senate meeting.

In response to a question by Vice President of Ministries Jose Flores, Smith also explained that, should a group’s new leadership inherit a probationary period due to their predecessors being over budget, they will be able to discuss or dispute that probation with the allocation board.

“Allocation board has the power in this proposal to either forgive probation or discuss aspects of probation with that operational group,” said Smith. He clarified that groups can appeal probation to the allocation board.

Sen. Cross Crabbe asked the guest representatives if they felt uncomfortable with any part of the proposal. Lingua Editor in Chief Sami Ledbetter had some reservations.

“I’m personally just a little unsure because we don’t have our final budgets, or we don’t know the exact numbers. We have our estimates and approvals from last year, but it’s still sort of up in the air,” she explained. “But, the probationary period sounds sound to me.”

Due to the passing of the proposal through senate, the guidelines will go into effect this year and remain in effect until a future senator brings a proposal to change them.