MSA presidential slates differ on budget, salary changes
Each slate has ideas for ways to alter the existing MSA budget.
Oct. 08, 2012
As the Missouri Students Association presidential elections continue, one common theme among all three slates is money. Each slate has unique plans for the MSA budget and the presidential and vice-presidential salaries.
Droege and Beattie have the priorities but not the specifics set for their plans with the MSA budget.
“I don’t want to make any promises because it’s impossible to see what may be in need three months from now,” Droege said.
Droege said he wants to continue the work of current MSA Vice President Helena Kooi, and her planned proposal to the Student Fee Review Committee, by funding the Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center coordinator's salary, as mentioned in a previous Maneater article.
Droege also said he wants to make funding for MSA’s Department of Student Activities comparable to the rate of inflation because DSA programs are where students see their student fees in action.
Another priority is ensuring enough funding is going to MSA’s auxiliaries such as STRIPES, Droege said.
Though Droege and Beattie are planning to implement two major programs — the professional attire lending program and the emergency no-interest loan — the funds to begin these programs will come from outside sponsors and not the MSA budget.
In response to Wright-Mahr’s proposal to cut salaries for MSA president and vice president, Droege said he thinks it’s selfless but impractical to decrease the positions’ salaries because some people need the money. By paying the positions enough, the president and vice president can devote their time to their elected positions rather than other jobs.
“In an ideal world, everyone could do these jobs for free, but that’s not something that can really happen,” said Jimmy Hibsch, Droege and Beattie’s campaign manager and former Maneater staffer.
Money is not the motivation for having the presidential and vice presidential jobs because the salaries are low, Droege and Hibsch both said.
“You do those jobs because you have so much passion for them,” Hibsch said.
Spencer Maass and Shelby Catalano have several ideas for the budget if elected.
Catalano said that, if elected, they plan to involve the Senate Budget Committee more in the budgetary process so more people are involved in shaping the budget and students are better represented.
“My plan basically focuses on integrating more of the budgetary process with the Senate Budget Committee,” Catalano said. “Currently, they are no longer part of SFRC so they have more downtime during the fall semester.”
Additionally, Catalano said they would increase funding for DSA and STRIPES because students continually utilize them both. Because of the growing student population and growing need for these programs, she said they might look into a student fee increase to support the programs. She said even a 10-cent fee increase would help supplement the MSA budget.
“They (DSA) provide a great service to the student body, and while they have comprised a big chunk of budget they currently aren’t receiving as much funding as in the past,” she said. “They’ve received less funding than what they should be for quite a while now. I think it’s an important thing to give them more (funding) since many students utilize those activities.”
Though Catalano said they aren’t looking to cut funding to any auxiliaries at this point, she said they would examine the MSA operating budget to look for places to make cuts. She also said she is neither for nor against cutting the salaries of the president and vice president. Instead, she is interested in what students want. But she said with a budget of $1.5 million, the $2,800 cut to their salaries would make a minimal difference.
Practicality and budget concerns that affect the MU student body are the centerpiece for the Tom Wright and Bo Mahr presidential slate. Discretionary spending that serves only MSA should be cut from the MSA budget, presidential nominee Wright said.
“In the current 2012 budget, there’s a $2,000 jacket program for retention of senators, and there’s also a banquet for Senate awards,” Wright said. “Those don’t benefit the entire student body and, honestly, those in MSA can do without the little perks.”
Wright and vice presidential nominee Mahr want to go through the budget line by line and cut whatever is inefficient and failing to provide benefits, echoing their calls for simplicity and practicality.
“We want to do what any organization facing a tight budget would do,” Mahr said. “You go through and you look for inefficiencies.”
Auxiliaries like STRIPES and MUTV would continue to get the funding they have in the 2012 budget and face no cuts, Wright said.
Unlike the other two slates, Wright and Mahr will voluntary cut their wages to that of the legal minimum. These drastic changes show the slate’s willingness to go the extra yard, Wright said.
“We’re going to do the work regardless of the money,” Wright said.