SGA Executive Treasurer and senior Eason Warren admitted his successor — whoever that may be — will be in a unique predicament. But he said he is doing everything in his power to make sure the next treasurer will be well equipped in his or her first day in office.
Treasurer was one of the three executive positions which was not campaigned for this election, something Warren said disappointed but didn’t surprise him. As the person in charge of allocating a massive budget to campus organizations, Warren knows that the position holds an incredible amount of clout.
But with that comes great responsibity.
“Anytime an organization uses their budget for anything at all, I have to sign off on it,” Warren said. “It’s a full time job essentially, when I’m not doing school stuff, I’m doing SGA stuff.”
With SGA budget hearings beginning this Sunday, Warren said he wants to be as transparent as possible with organizations who will make their cases to have money allocated to them.
“I want to help everyone out as much as I can, but at the end of the day, you have to prioritize who needs the most money and can contribute to the university,” Warren said.
One question Warren said he hopes to quell is the idea of corruption when the next treasurer is appointed. The next executive president — either juniors Rachel Hobbs or Morgan Bodenarain — will have to appoint her council because no one amassed the required 300 signatures to run for treasurer. Even though the next treasurer will not be elected by the student body, Warren said his successor will be primed for the job because he trusts Bodenarain and Hobbs’ judgment.
“I think that having the appointments will make the team work together because when either Rachel or Morgan win, they’ll appoint people they like and they’ll work well together,” Warren said. “At the same time, if someone didn’t go out and get those signatures, then they’re not really going to represent their constituents well. And if no one is running for the position, then we can’t be mad about who they appoint.”
Sophomore Loren Brunson, Black Student Union treasurer, agreed to an extent. She did not know the situation regarding SGA’s executive council, and said she did not expect that. She thinks the new treasurer will be qualified, but said it would be more comforting if the student body elected the person.
“I think it would be more fair if the treasurer was elected to make it even across the board,” Brunson said. “But I know the new president will have the school’s best interest at heart.”
Warren said the treasurer must go through an extensive vetting process when handling money — first through SGA faculty advisor Jana Lynn Patterson, dean of Student Health and Wellness, and then through the bursar’s and accounting office. Because of this, Warren said it is highly unlikely anything malicious would happen.
“Sort of like the United States government, there are a lot of checks and balances,” Warren said. “The treasurer is the appointed person to be in charge of all of these funds, but I couldn’t go in and withdraw $100,000 if I wanted to. Even though there’s a cash box of some sorts, there won’t be much a person can do to try and do any harm.”
For the budget hearings, Warren said he and his team have created a more efficient system for others to follow. Now, campus organizations asking for less than $1,000 do not have to attend. All other organizations will be allotted 10 minutes with Warren, current Executive President and senior Kyle Porro, Patterson and the next executive president. In the past, Warren said these meetings consisted of five days for nine hours each day. With this more efficient system, Warren said it will be easier for everyone.
“We’ll sit down with each organization and go line by line — what they want this money for, why we would be wary of paying for certain things, why their request is unreasonable,” Warren said. “That takes about 10 minutes, then we vote on it and we send the budget their way.”
Warren said the budget increases by 7 percent annually, which is the same rate the student body normally increases. Every student pays a $15 student activity fee in their tuition, and SGA’s budget is created from that money. Warren said when the new treasurer is appointed, he hopes to leave at least $10,000 in the budget. That wasn’t a luxury he had when was elected, and he wants to be as helpful as he can.
Like many organizations, Brunson said BSU is prepared for their hearings. Last year, BSU was allotted $9,000, but Brunson said it still wasn’t enough. BSU relies heavily on SGA’s budget, and because they did not receive the $10,000 they asked for, they had to cancel some events. This time around, Brunson said she is prepared and hopes other organizations are ready to plead their cases.
“Without the money SGA gives us, we would not be able to function,” Brunson said. “I’m excited for the budget hearings because this is our chance to help fund an organization that speaks on behalf on an entire demographic. Last year, we didn’t get the full amount we asked for, which made us rearrange some things, but hopefully this time will be different.”