From May 17 to 19 , ASUCD senators, executive officers, unit directors and members of the public met to discuss the 2013-14 ASUCD budget.
The group was unable to finalize the budget after they spent approximately 30 hours over the weekend discussing it. They will continue to deliberate at the May 23 senate meeting.
While finalizing ASUCD’s $11.6 million budget is incredibly important, we feel that it could be done in a more efficient manner. Spending 30 hours debating issues that could be addressed before budget hearings is a waste of everyone’s time. If senators have questions about specific units’ budgets, they should discuss them with the controller and the unit directors in the weeks leading up to the budget hearings.
Senators should not make unit directors and members of the public wait hours to discuss the topic they came for. This is unfair and does not encourage future cooperation.
In 2012, budget hearings were held during the Whole Earth Festival and this year it was held on the same weekend as KDVS’ Operation: Restore Maximum Freedom (Whole Earth Festival and KSVS are both ASUCD units). Black Family Day, which also receives funds from ASUCD, also took place on the Saturday of budget hearings. While it’s difficult to schedule a meeting with this many people in the busy month of May, the unit directors should be able to spend more time working on their units, not waiting for hours to be addressed and then listening to senators excessively debate the legitimacy of their budgetary needs.
We acknowledge the controller and the senators meet with units in preparation for budget hearings, but perhaps not every senator is preparing as much as they should. It’s inexcusable to have to continue discussing the budget at the senate meeting, where any budget previously thought to be passed could be reopened.
As seen at the end of many hours of discussion over the weekend, many senators were tired and upset, and ended up making rash decisions — they voted to lower the controller’s pay, and then they immediately reversed the decision when someone pointed out it was a bad idea.
The controller himself said that he doesn’t think he would be respected if he made less money than the unit directors he overlooks, which we think is ridiculous.
We support lowering salaries for student government positions. While none of these motions passed in the end, we do think this option should be considered as the association struggles to find sufficient funds for all of its units.
Decisions need to be made about the budget and everyone should get a chance to speak. However, if details are discussed earlier in the process and the communication between the senators, controller and the unit directors increases, budget hearings could be a much shorter and much less painful process for everyone.