AS denies funds to pay consultant

Payment denied. This Monday the Associated Students denied an action item during their weekly public meeting to finish paying a consultant her due fee for working between different entities to bring a regional transit pass to SMC students. During the meeting, Michael Greenberg, AS director of publicity spoke publicly after a three-minute recess saying “I think the board is quite tired of the administration pushing things onto us that they think we’ll just fund because it’s brought to us.”

The issue as it was presented to the AS board, is that the consultant was hired and paid partially because of a $5,000 budget cap in the AS public relations account, from which the consultant was being funded, and the AS board was looked upon by the administration to finish paying the consultant’s fee.

The public relations account is an unrestricted account that does not need board approval for spending. This account only needs approval of the AS president and the school’s president, currently Dr. Chui L. Tsang.

“Part of the reason that the retroactive spending clause is there is so that we don’t feel pressure to approve funds for something that already happened. Which is the situation that we’re in now,” said Greenberg.

He went on to clarify that the AS board of directors support is completely behind the establishment of a regional transit pass.

Immediately after their recess, the board split the budget item into two parts, where they unanimously showed their support for a regional transit pass, then nearly unanimously denied the action to pay the consultant fee.

AS President Ty Moura expressed her discontent with the administration’s handling of funds the day after the meeting. “Their marketing account has over $1 million,” she said. She also expressed her concern for other areas of the administrative budget. “There’s this line item in their budget for ‘Other,’ $600,000 budgeted for that line item.”

“The administration knows that we have a lot of funds,” said Greenberg. “But that’s because we have a lot of really dedicated students who are willing to contribute their $19.50 to our funds so we can do things for them.”

Moura added that she reached out to the consultant in question, Diana Ho. “We agreed to still work together and help her get her word across the region with other associated students from other community colleges,” she said. “So it will go forward.”

In other areas of the meeting the AS put their support behind SB 1017, known as the Reinvest in Our Future Act, which is the main focus of this Monday’s upcoming March in March, slated to occur at the state capitol. “We’re not protesting anything,” said Moura of the march, “it’s more of a rally for education.” The bill is meant to allot taxes from oil drilling for education spending.

The AS meeting next week will be moved to Wednesday in lieu of the March in March and the heavy involvement of the AS board.