BAC Chair advises to table special requests, committee grants three travel requests at July 6 meeting

Christian Ayers

Senator Troy Bottom addresses the BAC on financial responsibility.
BAC Chair Troy Bottom addresses the BAC on financial responsibility.
Photo by Michael Herrera

Two Budget and Allocations Committee (BAC) members approved three student conference travel requests, totaling $3,050, during an emergency BAC meeting July 6.

Dance Marathon, Student Nutrition and Dietetic Association, and Alpha Kappa Psi (AKΨ) were the three organizations who made requests. The BAC’s two voting members were Senators Janrei Villavicencio and Ania Cajuste.

Ragan Sanders, Dance Marathon overall chair, requested $1,335 for travel expenses to the Dance Marathon Leadership Conference. In 2014, Dance Marathon received $500 to support travel to the conference.

UNF’s Student Nutrition and Dietetic Association requested $500.00 to fund travel and registration expenses for several students attending the Florida Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics FNCE conference in Orlando.

The club’s President Andrea Schuck said the conference was a good opportunity for nutrition students to network and meet the right people to get jobs and internships once their college career is over.

The representative from AKΨ was late to the meeting, but was added to the agenda and allowed to speak.  AKΨ Treasurer Daniel Butts requested $1,215 to send two members to the AKΨ Convention in Norfolk, Va. Butts said this international convention is meant to help AKΨ members from across the globe get together to improve their professionalism and meet other AKΨ brothers. Butts also said AKΨ handles all of its political decisions during the convention.

From left to right: BAC members listens to Andrea Schuck’s funding request presentation.
BAC members listen to Andrea Schuck’s funding request presentation.
Photo by Michael Herrera

The funds for the three requests will come from the Student Government (SG) travel request budget.

In his first meeting back on the committee, BAC Chair Troy Bottom used the meeting’s opening remarks to warn the BAC senators about the Special Request balance.

The new fiscal year, FY 2015-2016, started July 1, and SG has already been spending Special Request money at a rapid rate.

Bottom was in China and SG Business Manager Dawn Knipe was absent during the last BAC meeting on June 15, which Spinnaker was not able to cover due to an overlap with the preceding senate meeting.

With only four voting BAC members present, Senator Tarek Kishek motioned to add two Special Request items to the June 15 agenda. The new requests totaled $137,943.20. $77,443.20  was requested for maintaining the previously cancelled free print lab.

The other $60,500 was requested by Vice President Haley Guerra to hire a lobbyist, former UNF Student Body President Matthew Brockelman of Southern Strategy Group (SSG), LLC.

According to minutes from the June 15 meeting, the four voting BAC members asked no questions during the discussion. The BAC unanimously passed all the special requests from June 15 for senate to review during the July 6 senate meeting, which followed Monday’s emergency BAC meeting.

The July 6 emergency meeting was Bottom’s first meeting since returning from China, and he urged the two BAC members to watch their spending.

“If everything goes approved today, we’re going to have $42,656 left out of $330,000,” Bottom said. “That’s supposed to be meant for the entire year. So I just wanted to touch base on that and say that last year, at this point, we didn’t spend any of that money… it’s not fiscally responsible at all.”

Bottom strongly suggested tabling Special Requests until the Fall, when Senate will have more voting members and committee members.

“We’re allocating huge chunks of money,” Bottom said. “And we literally have two students in front of us to do it.”

Spinnaker will follow up on the state of the Special Request fund balance, and the lobbyist contract expenditure.

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