Executive branch budget transfers monitored closely

Student Government executive branch budget transfers are being tracked closely now to ensure appropriate spending of student-paid Activity & Service (A&S) fees, SG senators said Tuesday.

The SG senate passed a resolution amending its statutes at Tuesday’s meeting, forcing the executive branch to present plans to transfer a smaller amount of funds from one portion of its budget to another.

According to SG statutes, any student organization that wants to transfer funds from one portion of its budget to another must receive approval from the Senate Committee on Appropriations if the amount exceeds 10 percent of that organization’s budget.

Any organization funded by A&S must gain the approval of the entire senate if the transfer is above 15 percent of that organization’s budget.

Under the new amendment, the rules remain the same for all organizations except the executive branch, which must now gain the approval of the Senate Committee on Appropriations for transfers more than 5 percent of its budget.

The executive branch must gain the approval of the entire senate for transfers above 10 percent.

SG senator for the College of Arts and Sciences Alicia Stott said she thinks the amendment allows the senate to represent the “wants of students” better.

“The senate is more representative of the student body … in a more local way,” Stott said. “The senate would have a more collective idea of what students really want as opposed to just the administration going about its aim.”

SG senator for the College of Arts and Sciences Colton Faza said he thinks senate oversight of the executive budget transfers is appropriate, because it helps enforce the system of checks and balances that the three SG branches should have.

“I think the purpose of the senate in this matter is to provide reflection and oversight,” Faza said.

Stott said the recent issue with the executive branch’s funding of student buses to the USF vs. FSU football game prompted the amendment.

Originally, the executive branch planned to request the $7,000 needed to fund the project from the senate. After senators raised concerns, the executive branch decided to transfer funds from the payroll portion of its budget to the projects portion instead.

The project includes six buses, which will be used to take 300 students from Tampa to Tallahassee for the Sept. 26 game.

The buses cost $1,000 each. Security from University Police will cost $600, and $400 will be used for any “unexpected costs,” according to reports.

SG senator for the College of Arts and Sciences John Dauphinais said although he thinks the FSU buses project is a “noble endeavor” of the executive branch, oversight of the senate is necessary.

“It’s very important to monitor and see that (the executive branch) doesn’t use its money for something that is a little bit shady or unconstitutional, or that wouldn’t be in agreement with the rest of the students,” Dauphinais said.

Executive branch press secretary Michael LeBlanc said although funds were taken out of payroll to fund the FSU buses, no members of the executive branch will have their pay cut.

“We know that this money is not our (executive branch) money, it’s the students’ money,” LeBlanc said. “We’re in charge of doing good things for the students with this money.”

LeBlanc said executive branch employees had been over-budgeted hours in preparation for unexpected issues, such as funding for the FSU buses.

“The budget that we made at the beginning of the year that seemed unpopular was really just preparation that we wanted to do, because we knew that we were going to do this,” he said. “We knew that there were going to be special projects that the senate was going to ask us to take out of our payroll.”