College News

Coordinating Council adds student leader wages, more outreach money to ASM internal budget proposal

Student Council will be next to take it up

The Coordinating Council passed three amendments to the budget Tuesday night.

Image By: Brandon Moe

If the Associated Students of Madison’s internal budget proposal gets passed in its current form, more student leaders will receive wages and the outreach committee will receive more money than in the past after Coordinating Council added three amendments to it Tuesday night.

Shared Governance Director Jacqueline Beaulieu proposed two separate amendments that both call for the vice chair positions on the Legislative Affairs and Sustainability committees to be paid for up to 10 hours per week. Each position would add up to $3,360 for the upcoming fiscal year.

This comes after the last Coordinating Council meeting where members debated pay for the Grant Allocation committee. The internal budget proposal states that Grant Allocation Committee members will start getting paid at $10.50 an hour.

However, the Grant Allocation secretary’s pay can only be raised to $10.35 per hour — due to ASM bylaws which state that a member’s pay raise cannot exceed a 15 percent increase — even though the job has more responsibility and is mandated by law to exist.

Since other committee members such as SSFC representatives get paid $10.50, it would be hard to justify why Grant Allocation Committee members would get less, ASM Chair Katrina Morrison said. However, by creating the position of the Grant Allocation Committee vice chair to replace the secretary position, the wage would start at $10.50 without conflicting with the bylaw.

Sustainability Chair Leah Johnson was initially supportive of the amendment. The work being done in her committee is just as important as other mandated committees, she said.

“We are both committees. We both have chairs,” Johnson said. “We both have paid positions. We are of equal importance. Our committees work to improve something for someone on this campus.”

The body also passed an amendment allowing $1,500 for ASM’s outreach committee, nearly doubling the previous $800 initially allocated for the next fiscal year.

Outreach Director Yogev Ben-Yitschak, who put the amendment forward, said he thought an increase was necessary since the money goes toward the ASM fall and spring kickoffs. So far, Ben-Yitschak said he has spent $500 on ASM’s fall kickoff.

However, Shared Governance Chair Deena Whitwam pointed out that outreach has never used the full amount allotted. For example in fiscal year 2015, the outreach director spent $911.95 out of its $1,000 budget. In fiscal years 2016 and 2017, the committee used about half of its allotted budget or less.

When asked what the money would go towards, Ben-Yitschak said it would fund the cost of renting space for ASM’s two mandatory town halls as well as for other outreach events.

Press Office Director Courtney Morrison expressed her support for the amendment.

“If there was one complaint that ASM members specifically get, it’s that we’re not representative enough of the student body — we don’t do enough to include the student body — even though all of our actions strive to and I think the best way to do that it through outreach and getting more students involved,” Director Morrison said.

As Coordinating Council hands over the overall proposed ASM budget onto the larger Student Council, it is lower than last year’s even with the three additional amendments; this year, including the three amendments, ASM’s budget is $1,371,444.52 ($1,363,224.52 before amendments) and last year, the body approved an overall budget of $1,380,380.45.

“I’m really proud of the budget this year especially because we came in under from what we were at last year, so that’s really exciting,” Chair Morrison said. “That decrease came with an increase of student leader wages, and so I was glad that we could make the student government more accessible in terms of payment and keep the cost down for the student body.”

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