SSFC Subcommittee WorkPosted: March 13, 2010
With all the budgets concluded for the next school year, the Student Services Finance Committee is setting it’s sights on internal work. Every year, the SSFC uses the last two months of the session to review its policies, structure, and procedure, a process called subcommitteee. Last year, SSFC worked mostly on revising some related bylaws, updating forms, and reorganization the Financial Guide, but this year I wanted to look at things from a big picture. That is not to say that I have disregarded the little things–you will still see some in there–but there are many big things that SSFC can do to really improve the functionality of ASM as a whole.
The work is broken into two subcommittees, one headed up by Vice Chair Micheal Romenesko and the other run by Secretary Matthew Manes. As Chair, I will be floating back and forth, guiding the work of each and making sure they stay on track. I gave my report on this to Student Council last week and the Badger Herald ran a piece on it , but I wanted to detail each of the projects in more depth here. Each gives a brief description, along with the name and the subcommittee put in charge of it. I have also included my personal thoughts on each one in white.
Campus Services Fund – Matt
This model is derived from the service-driven criteria that made the GSSF successful, but instead of waiting for groups to come to us, we take the initiative to determine what services are important for the campus. The fund should be utilized to provide ASM-run services, funding for specific student groups, and support for long-run contractual obligations (such as the Rape Crisis Center). Members of this subcommittee should gain an understanding of SUFAC policies, including F50, and then examine the process of this type of stream. The final step would be constructing bylaws to institute this process. This could, in my mind, revolutionize the role of ASM and SSFC. By creating a mechanism for providing services for students, we can really capitalize on the S in ASM–services.
Moving SACGB and Finance Committee Under SSFC—Michael
The common theme between SSFC and these two committees is, of course, the allocation of limited resources in a viewpoint neutral manner. Currently, the Student Council has an oversight role over these two committees, but most representatives fail to fully comprehend the ramifications of VPN—not because of incompetence but because they don’t deal with it on a daily basis. This change will simply transfer some of the direct oversight duties of from SC to the SSFC, while still maintaining the checks within SC. This subcommittee will be in charge of writing bylaws and working with each respective committee. This came about this year when the SACGB had some issues with space allocation. When everything went by the wayside, it wasn’t the Student Council that helped them correct the process, it was the collection of like-minded leaders, namely those from Finance and SSFC, that helped make it fair.
Cap on the GSSF—Michael
Setting a cap on the GSSF is a possible course of action to ensure the longevity of the fund. As far as I can tell, UW-Madison is the only university with a fund without imposed limits, and in fact, the auxiliaries are (partially) held to a cap every year. Obviously, this could be detrimental in the future if it were to get out of control. This subcommittee should examine the possibility of a cap and then consider what this cap could reasonably be set at. I am very much in favor of a cap on the GSSF. Although the last three years have meant a high degree of fiscal responsibility for SSFC, that won’t always be the case. The always feared “rogue” committee could potentially inflate the GSSF to insurmountable means, but a cap would protect that. Even if we assume that SSFC will always be reasonable, a cap would at least ensure that people are cognizant of a set rate of increase every year.
College Student Council Fund—Matt
For many years, there were several college student councils (such as CALS Student Council and Polygon) that were funded in the GSSF. Since the new criteria, these groups have no longer received funding. This subcommittee will examine the possibility of instituting a new fund to provide a stream for these councils. This is a complicated issue, but I would at least make the recommendation that there are established criteria that determine entry into the fund—that is, that being a council does not guarantee funding. I met on Friday with a member of CALS Student Council to discuss the possibility of a CSC Fund, but I remain skeptical. Besides the practical reservations I have, I also have a philosophical problem with crafting a funding stream around a handful of existing groups; it seems like special interest catering to me.
Now that the stipends that SSFC advocated for are passed, we have to follow up on the promise to institute bylaw changes. This will implement a non-arbitrary method of funding leadership in the future. This committee will be responsible for crafting Bylaws to correspond with these percents. Pretty straightforward to me. This is something that needed to get done since the budget process began.
Possible Internal Budget Process Change—Michael
This year highlighted some of the downfalls of the back and forth internal budget process that we currently use. The budget goes from Finance to Student Council to SSFC and back to Student Council. This subcommittee should examine the ramifications of this process, whether it can be made more efficient, and if so, what steps can be done to remedy it. I’m not sure what we could do here, but I think its something that should be examined. Are our time frames correct? Do we really need three and possibly four independent bodies reviewing the budget?
For a few years now, the standard GSSF wage has been $9.19 an hour with possible increases. It is time to reconsider this wage. This subcommittee will examine the possibility of changing this number, and if it feels it necessary to modify, determine what number would be more appropriate to ensure that the wages are both fiscally responsible and necessary to the continuation of services. This is an idea I have mulling around since the beginning of the year. A slight increase would make budget calculations more practical, but I’m not sure how high we want to increase wages which already constitute a large part of GSSF budgets.
Vice Chair Job Duties—Matt
There are many changes in the Vice Chair job duties that could be implemented:
- Shared Governance Position
- Tenant Support/RCC Supervision
All of these are possibilities, but it would be difficult to have the Vice Chair do all three. These are just proposals that could all work to improve SSFC relations with various ASM components and funded parties. Last time I heard, it sounded like Shared Gov Chair Melissa Hanley didn’t like the idea of having the Vice Chair on any Shared Gov positions, but it may not even be required with the new Shared Gov Deputies.