Senate Reforms Treasurer Position
By Alex Stein '13
Romen Borsellino was away this week, so in his place, I’ll be providing some commentary on this week’s legislative action.

The AAS resumed its debate on reforming the Treasurer position on Monday night. The Senate welcomed Dean of the Campus Center and AAS advisor Hannah Fatemi and AAS auditor Ilsa Shummway to discuss their concerns over a reform proposal offered by the AAS Treasurer Commission.

The Commission’s proposal, as currently constructed, would divide the responsibilities of the Treasurer in two. The Treasurer would remain an elected position responsible for chairing the Budgetary Committee (BC) and providing guidance on financial policy to the entire Senate. The newly created Comptroller would be an appointed position, drawn from experienced student-clerks and BC members. The Comptroller would be paid for their work and would be in charge of writing checks, maintaining the Senate’s financial records and managing the “dirty work” of the AAS treasury.

Fatemi and Shummway expressed their concern that those duties — political and managerial — are so intertwined that they require a single person to be in charge of both. Yet, throughout the discussion, it became clear that the two opinions in the debate were not actually all that different. It seems that Fatemi and Shummway’s concerns can be addressed by creating a hierarchy in which the Treasurer supervises the Comptroller (which Shummway urged be renamed “Assistant Treasurer” or “Head Clerk”). The Commission resolved to meet again to try and bridge the surprisingly small gap on this issue.

As for budgetary recommendations, the Senate seemed to have formed a consensus on most issues by the time of the meeting. One contentious proposal, the purchasing of a keyboard for music practice rooms (traditionally the responsibility of the music department), was tabled. A freshman senator is looking into the feasibility of making this keyboard a Senate project and gift to the student body — similar to the New York Times in Val or the treadmill televisions in the gym (a joint initiative of the AAS and Athletic Department).

A group of Senators have also begun work with Vice President Michael Dolmatch to revamp the AAS Storage space so that the AAS can keep track of items they purchase for clubs — eliminating redundancy and saving the Senate a lot of student money.

On an unrelated note, the Class of 2011 Senate election to fill the vacancy left by now-Treasurer Phil Johnson, has turned surprisingly competitive with three seniors running for a single spot. Though the pages of The Student may have seen some airing of dirty Senate laundry over the last few weeks, it appears that this increased dialogue has encouraged at least a few students to get involved with their student government. On behalf of the entire Senate, I would like to encourage everyone to continue to build upon this trend. Next Wednesday night, Romen Borsellino ’12, David Zheutlin ’11 and I will be sponsoring the first in a series of AAS Town Halls. The topic of our first town hall will be: “What can the Senate do for you?” and we want as much input as possible on how the AAS can help the student body — no suggestion is too ridiculous or far-fetched. Let’s start a conversation about making Amherst even better than it already is. And, if that isn’t enough to entice you to show up: we’re providing free pizza. A lot of free pizza. We hope to see you there.

Issue 19, Submitted 2011-03-23 01:21:41