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Davis, California

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

New bylaw takes aim at arbitrary ASUCD wages

Revised budgeting procedure intensifies competition between stipend employees

 

A new ASUCD bylaw will alter how the Executive Office budgets employee stipends in an attempt to better match each stipend’s value to the work it rewards.

Senate Bill #44 (SB44) will compel the Executive Office, composed of the ASUCD president, vice president and controller, to annually redistribute 12.5 percent of stipend funds to reward ASUCD employees with more demanding duties. Because overall stipend funding will not rise, increases in particular stipends will come at the expense of decreases in others.

The new budgeting procedure will take effect in the upcoming spring quarter and is presently set to stay for the next ten years. Senate passed SB44 with a 10-0-2 vote on Feb. 26.

Before the Executive Office’s shuffles stipend funds each year, the ASUCD president, vice president, controller, Business and Finance Commission chair and business manager will meet with each unit director and appraise every position receiving a stipend.

ASUCD vice president Maxwell Kappes, architect and co-author of SB44, expressed that the process of budgeting stipends has lacked appropriate sophistication.

“Currently, how budget works for stipends is we kind of just arbitrarily assign numbers to a lot of positions,” Kappes said. “So, this is mandating that we actually analyze positions.”

Kappes also explained that the somewhat crude nature of stipend budgeting has partly been the product of incompatible election dates and budget deadlines.

“It’s really hard to write a budget over a couple of weeks, which is really all you have,” Kappes said. “You don’t term in until week ten [of winter]. You don’t know if you’re elected until week seven. You don’t have a controller until week one or two of spring. And you have to have a budget ready by week five or six.”

Former ASUCD senator Kabir Kapur voiced concerns that SB44 will severely restrict the budgetary freedom of future Executive Offices by requiring them to focus on stipends and consequently neglect other budget items.

Given that the newly-mandated budgeting procedure will take place before budget hearings, any potential changes made by the Executive Office will be subject to senate review.

Alexis Munnelly, director of Entertainment Council, employs five stipend-compensated personnel and is herself paid by stipend. She stated that, while half of her employees feel that their wages are fair, the other half feel that they are extremely underpaid.

Munnelly said that she supports SB44. She feels that her employees deserve be paid more and hopes for increases in their stipends.

“I hope that the senators can see that they deserve the little wage that they’re receiving for the great amount of work that they are doing,” said Munnelly.

 

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