Crafting the SGA budget, which currently sits at a value of just over one million dollars, is a process which requires collaboration amongst many different individuals and groups to complete. It begins with the SGA President and treasurer, who co-author an initial draft.
The Retriever obtained a copy of their recent proposal for the next fiscal year. The recommended changes include a 58.7 percent cut to the Student Events Board’s funds, a 66.66 percent cut to The Retriever’s funds, a 30.9 percent cut to SGA’s funds and a 51.1 percent increase to the funds of Student Clubs.
When asked why these changes were made, SGA President Anthony Jankoski said, “the budget was drafted with the dollar of the average student in mind. Changes in allocation are expected to help campus life prosper and continue to enliven UMBC.”
Craig Berger, advisor for UMBC’s SGA, said, “Both of them (President and treasurer) then present that budget to the SGA Senate.” This stage in the process was originally planned to take place at the Senate meeting on Monday, March 7, but has been tabled until March 21.
The reason for the delay was the absence of SGA President Anthony Jankoski, who was originally supposed to be in attendance. SGA Treasurer Tristan Oetker was unwilling to address the budget cuts proposed by Jankoski.
“The Senate then discusses the budget proposed by the president and treasurer and offers feedback. Senators also are able to make amendments,” Berger said.
If a Senator wishes to change an item in the budget that he or she disagrees with, a majority vote is needed to amend that particular section of the budget.
Prior to last week’s meeting on Monday, Feb. 29, the Senate had seven officials on its body, significantly short of the 11 it is supposed to maintain. However, during the meeting, Speaker of the Senate William Rice and Assistant Speaker Sarah Lilly brought forth three candidates that were ultimately confirmed, bringing their total to 10 senators.
“I feel that filling all of the vacancies by the time the budget is presented is of the utmost importance. The more perspectives that we can have to evaluate proposed changes, the better,” Rice said.
Once all the items of the budget have been discussed and the necessary changes made by the Senate, a vote is taken on the budget as a whole. If a majority approve of it, it is then sent to the Finance Board.
However, the Finance Board cannot vote on particular items. They can only vote yes or no to the entire plan. If the Finance Board approves, it gets sent back to the President, who can either authorize or veto it.
The process is nearly complete. Berger explained, “once the SGA President approves the budget or when the Senate and Finance Board override the President’s veto, the budget approved by SGA moves to the Student Activities Fee Review Board. The SAFRB can either recommend the proposed budget to UMBC’s president for approval, or can remand the proposed budget to the SGA for reconsideration.”
According to Berger, the entire process is likely to take a couple of months, finishing sometime between late April and early May.
He offered reassuring words about the abilities of the students he serves to guide. “Based on the time I have spent with the current senators, I am highly confident in their ability to make these important decisions with the long-term interest of the organization and the student body in mind.”
Rice, like Berger, is certain that the Senate in particular will be able to properly fulfill their duty to the student body. He concluded, “we will do our best to make sure that all changes in the budget are not only in the best interest of students, but that the changes have significant backing from students who are engaged in our UMBC community.”