S.A. Senate passes Tier II budget revision

The Student Association Senate overrode President Steven DiMarzo’s veto Tuesday, with 13 of the 15 senators present voting to remake the Tier II budget process.

The new law moves Tier II budgeting from the fall semester to the previous spring semester, meaning Tier II and III budgeting are done at the same time. DiMarzo said this would add difficulty to a process that is already stressful and hectic. The new law also adds new requirements clubs must meet in order to obtain Tier II funding.

"It was overturned because changing the process is beneficial for all students," Senator Devon Finnegan said. "We had an interesting debate and it was determined that moving Tier II to the spring is worth the extra effort.

DiMarzo said he vetoed the bill because of logistics, not because he disagreed with changing the Tier II budgeting.

"My concerns are that it will double the amount of work in the same amount of time," DiMarzo said. "Information on the implementation and execution of the bill should have been added."

Only two senators agreed with DiMarzo; one was senator Robert Chiappone. He voted to uphold the presidential veto, because he said there was not enough evidence that the change would be beneficial.

"I think with more input from accountants behind the budget process, such as Director of Finance [Armando] Franco, we could have produced a better, more holistic bill," Chiappone said. "The intentions of the bill were good, but it was just incomplete."

The bill also mandates that organizations seeking Tier II budgets must submit a charter to S.A.—previously only Tier III organizations needed to formulate this collection of paperwork. According to S.A. law, a charter consists of the following:

"The purpose of the organization, documentation of the past and current year’s accomplishments of the organization, evidence of the benefits the organization provides to the college community, the number of active members in the organization, with a membership list available upon request, plans for the upcoming year, and a copy of the current constitution for the organization."

According to the new law, Tier II charters for the 2011-12 fiscal year will be due as early as Jan. 28, 2011. All organizations seeking Tier II funding must have their paperwork submitted by the deadline. A 2008 S.A. Supreme Court case mandates that deadlines such as these cannot be extended after the fact, so charters submitted after the deadline will most likely not be accepted.

Budget requests will then be due on the Feb. 11, 2011, and the same deadline rules will apply. After that, budget council will convene to consider both Tier II and Tier III budgets for the first time.

However, the new process ensures all Tier II organizations have money in their accounts by the beginning of the academic year. This year, Tier II’s went without money until mid-October because of turmoil in the budget process, and the new law specifically remedies this problem.

Senate leader Nathan Hemmes said that ultimately this is change for the better.

"We did it for the good of the students and I think we can handle the extra work," Hemmes said. "It definitely streamlines the process."