Student Council Chair Brandon Williams cited concerns over the balance of power in ASM changing due to the budget revisions.[/media-credit]


Chair Brandon Williams introduces ASM

Vice chair Adam Johnson introduces ASM

The University of Wisconsin student government approved the first changes in 17 years in how their internal budget is drafted Wednesday night.

The Associated Students of Madison Student Council unanimously voted to approve the Internal Budget Reform Act.

The reform act moved the responsibility of creating the internal budget from the Finance Committee to Coordinating Council.

Chair Brandon Williams said concerns were brought up at last week’s meeting about moving the process to the Coordinating Council.

“The concern brought up last week was that the Finance Committee is an outside body that provides some kind of check,” Williams said.

Vice Chair Adam Johnson addressed these concerns.

Johnson said the check would not be eliminated by moving the budget drafting responsibility to Coordinating Council.

Finance Committee actually limits the amount of people able to participate in the budget drafting process, Johnson added.

“All members of ASM are members are Coordinating Council,” Johnson said. “We’re actually opening this up to a greater number.”

Williams said any member of student council can be a part of coordinating council and that council members can appoint non-council members to positions on coordinating council.

Williams also said the Coordinating Council will only be responsible for drafting the budget.

The budget must still be approved by the Coordinating Council, Student Council and Student Services Finance Committee, Williams said.

“I am not trying to make Coordinating Council the approve all, end all,” Johnson said.

According to Johnson, Finance Committee has not drafted an efficient budget in years past.

Johnson added it is better to create a smart budget first and then subject it to all the checks within the system.

The committee also voted to approve committee accountability bylaws.

The bylaws were created to ensure student council is doing its job and members attend meetings for the committees they are assigned to, University Affairs Chair Carl Fergus said.

Council member attendance at committee meetings helps to provide structure for those committees and institutionalize them, Fergus said.

Fergus said the measure taken in drafting the bylaws was proactive, and he was not aware of any existing issues involving absenteeism of council members.