Bylaws IV § 12 (6)) Interpretation:
Redbook Section in Question:
Redbook Constitution or Bylaws? Bylaws Article: IV
Name: Matthew Irwin
Position/Affiliation: Campus Events Board Director
Question (Be as specific as possible):
Under what circumstances can the Finance Board reallocate surplus funds? When can the Finance Board reallocate surplus funds?
What is defined as “surplus funds”?
When reallocating money, where does it go, or where can it go?
For ASUU Office Use Only:
Attorney General:Seodam Kwak
Text Section in Question:
“The Finance Board may reallocate surplus funds from Cabinet or student organization accounts, via a Line Item Change, with the approval of the appropriate Director of Finance. If these funds were received through legislation, reallocation must also be approved by the Assembly Treasurer for student organization funding and the Senate Treasurer for College Student Council funding.”
This interpretation was drafted mainly due to the questions raised during the consideration of a bill titled, “A BILL TO MODIFY CAMPUS EVENTS BOARD MANDATED PASSAGE AND ROLL OVER POLICY.”
Under scrutiny, certain perplexities relevant to the duties and powers of the Finance Board have been broached. This interpretation aims to construe and establish the duties and powers of the Finance Board when regarding fund transfers within the boundaries of Redbook. First, the term surplus funds shall be defined. Surplus funds shall be defined as any amount of money that is present in excess at the end of the fiscal year, or from the allocated amount from the beginning of the year. If in any circumstance, a board raises more funds than their allocated amounts at the beginning of the year, that shall be considered as a surplus fund. The Finance Board reserves the power to reallocate surplus funds from executive cabinet or student organization accounts (Bylaws IV § 12 (6)). However, this requires further clarification as the Redbook provides an implicit definition of an “executive cabinet account.” Nevertheless, the Redbook fails to yield an explicit definition of this phrase. In other parts of Redbook, the funds that are referenced in this clause are budgets of individual boards, the presidency, chief of staff, legislative chairs, attorney general, etc. (Bylaws IV § 2 (1.8)). Furthermore, a clause in Redbook that pertains to the executive cabinet accounts states, “Fund transfers from the General Reserve may only be made to Executive Cabinet Accounts, the Assembly Contingency, the Senate Contingency, and the Travel account.” (Bylaws IV § 12 (5)). The accounts that are listed in this clause share a key component. All of the remaining funds within these accounts at the end of the fiscal year are transferred back into the General Reserve. Moreover, as stated above, funds from the General Reserve can be transferred into these accounts. This indicates that an executive cabinet account must maintain the ability of directly transferring funds back and forth between the account and the General Reserve.
Based on Redbook, a fund may be considered as an “executive cabinet account” and be defined as such if two criterias are met.
- The person in charge of the fund has to be a member of the Executive cabinet, (eg: directors, the presidency, legislative chairs, attorney general, etc).
- The account must transfer all of its remaining funds back to the General Reserve at the end of the fiscal
In reference to the Redbook, the Finance Board shall be able to reallocate surplus funds from executive cabinet accounts that are in accordance with the two criterias listed above. However, according to the two guidelines, the Campus Events Board budget cannot be considered an executive cabinet account. This is due to the excess end of the year funds of the Campus Event Board that rolls over to the Campus Events Board reserve, which is a direct violation of the second criteria (Bylaws IV § 2 (1.10)). Therefore, the Finance board shall be allowed to reallocate surplus funds from student organization accounts and executive cabinet accounts, with the exclusion of the campus events board and while adhering to all procedures and approvals indicated in Bylaws IV § 12 (6). Despite the Finance Board holding the power to reallocate surplus funds, this action shall occur by the approval of the president. The incoming president holds the responsibility of designing and presenting the annual budget (Bylaws IV § 1 (1)), therefore it is necessary for the president to approve any changes to the budget. The president also acts as the chief executive officer of ASUU, and oversees and approves all financial activities (Redbook IV § 2 (1.1)). Additionally, it lacks any mention of power to administer these fund transfers unilaterally in any part of the Finance Board bylaws (Bylaws II.II § 6). Therefore, it shall also be ruled that the president must approve the reallocation of surplus funds by the Finance Board. As the Finance Board lacks the power to re-allocate all surplus funds from the Campus Events Board, this ability shall be bestowed upon the Campus Events Board Advisory Committee. This is the most logical substitute, as the Campus Events Board Advisory Committee holds a duty to “Review and approve activities” within the board (Bylaws II.II § 3 (6.6.2)). The transfer of excess funds and its use is considered an “activity” of the Campus Events Board, therefore constitutionally granting the Campus Events Board Advisory Committee this power. Therefore, it shall be ruled that the Campus Events Board Advisory Committee possesses the authority to reallocate surplus funds of the Campus Events Board. Next, the question of when the Finance Board is able to relocate these funds shall be addressed. As Redbook does not strictly limit when surplus funds can be reallocated and has no text suggesting when these transfers can occur, it shall be ruled that the Finance Board is able to reallocate funds whenever a budget surplus is present.