SGA President is wrong on budget powers
Published: Thursday, September 12, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 12, 2013 01:09
SGA has spent the majority of its time debating about how to spend the money that students give us.
On Tuesday, I voted in favor of Senate Bill F13-02. This bill is a compromise between both executive members and members of the Senate. Traditionally the President seeks advice from members of the Executive Board and certain members of the Senate on how we should allocate our funds. This year, that did not happen. I learned of the president’s budget 30 minutes before the meeting he planned to present it on September 3rd. President Jaime did not ask for advice on the budget from myself or from Treasurer Robert Arriaga, Secretary Chastin Pruitt, nor his own chief of staff, Michael Harvey.
There is no requirement for him to seek such advice. President Jaime has made it clear that he wants and will get his personal assistant and a raise for himself. He also allocated money for a raise to my own salary and the chief of staff’s. I’ll admit I was originally unopposed to this raise, but at the same time I did not request it. While I originally agreed with President Jaime on how he had allocated funds for Ofﬁcer Wages, I disagree in the strongest terms about his decision to allocate money for a personal assistant for himself.
We already have four executive student assistants who are more than willing and capable to do the work President Jaime is requesting be done by this personal assistant. If all President Jaime wants is a personal assistant, then why not join with the Senate in its proposal for an unpaid internship. There is absolutely no need for a president at this level to need someone to check his emails for him and update his calendar. I get just as many emails and I am just as busy as I work full time in The Woodlands and go to school full time in Huntsville.
The Senate motioned to refer his budget to a committee in hopes of a compromise. President Jaime refused to compromise. Instead, a group of Senators, myself, and treasurer Arriaga got together on our own accord and came up with a responsible budget plan. One that kept ofﬁcer wages at their current rate, since ofﬁcers were elected with the expectation of a certain salary. It was at this meeting of Senators that I was convinced that it would be unfair to change these rates after ofﬁcers have already made life decisions with the expected salary.
President Jaime has refused several calls for compromise and negotiation. His attempt to hijack the budget process was thwarted after the Senate unanimously voted to overturn his ruling on how he interpreted the constitution and the rules and regulations of the Senate. Moments later, the Senate unanimously approved the budget compromise created by myself and others in the Senate. I believe this shows how out of touch President Jaime is with fellow students on how to properly and responsibly spend students money.
I’d like to point out that I raised a point of Information to the Senate on Tuesday, clarifying that regardless of whether or not President Jaime believes the Senate has the right to pass a budget, the Senate has the power to do what it thinks is necessary. President Jaime agreed with this point of information, during Tuesday’s meeting, that once the senate passes a bill it is law, until otherwise decided by the Supreme Court.
Senate Bill F13-02 is the law as acknowledged publicly by President Jaime during Tuesday’s Meeting by agreeing to this point of information. It is the 2013-2014 SGA Budget. Any attempt to say otherwise is completely false and backed up by the Presidents own words when he agreed to the point of information in Tuesday’s Meeting. President Jaime and I have had a great working relationship and I hope that continues to be the case. However, when it comes to this issue, perhaps one of the most important issues to student’s these days, President Jaime is wrong.