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SA neglects bylaw on reporting internal expenditures

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The Student Association’s comptroller has failed to provide written bi-weekly reports regarding internal expenditures – a violation of the organization’s bylaws.

According to the job descriptions portion of SA’s bylaws, the comptroller or a designated member of their office is required to prepare a bi-weekly report that includes all expenditures made by the organization’s executive departments.

The report must be presented to SA’s senate and immediately published online. Failure to comply will result in charges of negligence and/or incompetence filed against the comptroller.

“I am not incompetent, and I’m not negligent about what’s going on within my office,” said SA Comptroller Nicholas Hackshaw, who was unaware of the bylaw. “If they want information I have no problem in giving it.”

According to Hackshaw, no one from SA’s senate has inquired about bi-weekly reports, but anyone seeking information regarding SA finances can simply ask to review the materials which are tracked through MyInvolvement.

Neither Anna Agnes, chair of the Committee on Government Operations; or Brandon Holdridge, chair of the Rules Committee, were aware of the bylaw.

Failure to comply with the bylaw this academic year stems from past oversights, Agnes said. Her committee oversees bylaw enforcement.

There are no bi-weekly expenditure reports available on SA’s website, which hasn’t been fully updated to reflect current senate voting records and weekly minutes in over two years – a violation of SA’s transparency bylaws.

“There’s a lot of bylaws and obviously we’re supposed to follow them all,” said Agnes. “I guess in past practice if you haven’t seen it done you don’t think to look for it.”

Agnes called the bylaw “important” and said she plans to discuss the matter with her committee going forward.

Despite the violation, there are no current plans to file charges of negligence and incompetence against Hackshaw, according to Agnes.

“If no one has been checking on it, then both parties are at fault,” she said.

Holdridge said his not knowing the bylaw was just a matter of the issue “slipping through the cracks,” a recurring problem he sees within SA and one he hopes can be addressed moving forward.

“It’s disappointing to see simple things just not being done in Student Association,” he said. “Hopefully with the right leadership next year we can really crack down on keeping everyone accountable to what they’re supposed to be doing.”

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Chad Arnold is a reporter for the Albany Student Press covering Student Association affairs. He is also an die-hard heavy metal fan.

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