Khan Emails Budget Instead of Attending Senate

By LISA EPSTEIN
On April 20, 2012

Student Association Treasurer Sikander Khan sent out the 2012-13 proposed budget on Monday after not attending Sunday's Senate meeting.

At that meeting, Senate started a petition to recall Khan and suspended his pay.

Engineering Coordinator Dan Pastuf made a budget because Khan failed to make his own budget by the April 14 deadline. Khan never called a finance meeting in the fall semester, according to Pastuf. However, Khan made and sent out his own budget at 12:52 a.m. on Monday.

Khan claimed that he hadn't sent out the budget earlier because he hadn't received a consensus from the finance committee and said that he took Pastuf's budget into consideration when writing his budget.

Senate Chair Darwinson Valdez said that he doesn't care which budget is chosen, but he wants to use whatever budget is best.

SA has seen a deficit of approximately $140,000 in its budget, and Khan's budget estimates a net income of $14,877.50 after revenue and expenses are calculated. Last year's budget, put together by then SA Treasurer Anthony Roman, estimated a net income of approximately $4,635.

"Khan's budget is being considered," Pastuf said. "I know it has been looked at."

Khan did not follow the correct procedure: having the budget approved by the finance committee and then having the finance committee present it. A procedure, Pastuf admits, that has never been followed in his time at the Senate, including last year.

Pastuf said due to "conflicting events" involving Khan, the finance committee has had to "make due with what [they] have."

Khan sent his budget out for senators to review and hoped that the senators would view the budget objectively, according to his email.

"[The] Master Budget is the key for SA Financial Sustainability; please don't let politics or other issues which may have arisen because of me influence your judgment," Khan said in the email.

In his email, Khan described his last week as "rough," but said he would be in the office "all next week to make changes to the budget, if senators can visit me or send me emails."

Valdez said that he has personally not seen Khan in the SA office this week.

"I heard he was around last week, but I personally have not seen Sikander, so I can't say that he hasn't been around," Valdez said. "I was around the SA office the entire day [Monday] and I didn't see him. All he did was submit the budget and not comment on it, so for me I can't say if he's around enough."

Valdez proposed a motion at Sunday's Senate meeting to hold Pastuf's budget for one more week in order to finalize it. The Senate doesn't want the Emergency Powers Council to approve the budget before it's finalized, according to Valdez.

Valdez also voiced concern over Pastuf's budget and the way it was put together, claiming that the changes made are extremely unfair to the students and the Senate.

"I have personally received notice from some of the senators that have heard that Travis [Nemmer] sat next to Pastuf when they were doing the budget and [Nemmer] said: 'Oh can you add this,' when he shouldn't have had any say in the new budget," Valdez said. "You see it, for example, in an increase in [Nemmer's] budget line of $5,000 and an increase in the vice president line of $2,500."

Nemmer said that he did speak with Pastuf regarding the budget, but didn't do anything unconstitutional.

 "We spoke," Nemmer said. "Not to any substantial things, not as much as maybe let on. But yes, we spoke with the finance committee and we'd be remiss not to. But at the end of the day we do not write the budget. It would be unconstitutional if we did."

The two budgets have competing viewpoints, according to Pastuf. He anticipates a lot of debate in the coming Senate meetings.

The biggest difference Pastuf picked out between his budget and Khan's involves athletics. The SA pays $30,000 to the athletic department, which among other things pays for tickets for students to attend games. Pastuf said if SA fails to sign and pay for that contract, as Khan is proposing, undergraduates would have to pay whatever rate UB would set for tickets.

"As a D1 football school it would be kind of shameful if that was the situation - our attendance would instantly drop" Pastuf said.

Khan also stated in the email that he wanted to give The Spectrum $5,000 to make the newspaper more "fiscally independent." He said his intention was to give The Spectrum the equivalent to $1 per student from the mandatory activity fee, but that would require "SUNY-level action." Khan wrote that he urges the senate to give The Spectrum the equivalent amount.

He also urged the senate to make a committee that will enforce the SUNY guideline of reviewing the SA's fiscal agent every three years. He wrote that the Faculty Student Association has made a bid proposal regarding this, but cited his current reputation as the reason they're not responding.

Khan ended the email by writing: "You [the senators] will be impeaching me in a week's time regardless, all I request of you is to look at this budget objectively, compare it with all the budget[s] in the past that lead us to deficits and make the most informed decision."

 

Email: news@ubspectrum.com

 

Additional reporting by Sara DiNatale


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