Missing SGA funds accounted for

The Student Government Association money allotted for a gazebo that was never built in 2001 has been accounted for.

Ross Pruitt, SGA’s vice president of finance, said the $13,000 SGA put toward a gazebo mistakenly went back into the organization’s general fund. The money was spent on other things, including computers for SGA.

Pruitt said past SGA leaders didn’t properly earmark the money, and this year’s executive council unknowingly spent it on other projects.

Pruitt said SGA’s executive council didn’t know it was spending money set aside for a gazebo. Other than the original legislation passed by the 2001 congress, there wasn’t any record of it.

“We didn’t follow up on it the way we should have,” he said.

SGA President Jamie Sears said she and Scott Taylor, former Student Activities and Organizations director, decided this summer where the leftover money from last year’s budget – which included the gazebo money – would be allocated. She said other executive council members were consulted through e-mail about the spending.

The questions surfaced after a group of SGA members asked why the gazebo wasn’t being built three weeks ago. They submitted a petition asking SGA to account for the end-of-the-year funds. The largest missing chunk of money was for the gazebo.

SGA hasn’t made any move to set aside more money for a gazebo.

A financial review committee investigating the problem, established a week after the questions were raised, will report its findings to SGA’s congress.

Pruitt said current executive council leaders and leaders from the past two years, including former presidents Leslie Bedo and Cassie Martin, are all partly responsible.

“I didn’t do my homework,” he said.

Taylor said SGA members who passed the legislation and did not follow up on it are also responsible.

“I share part of that blame,” Taylor said.

Taylor said SGA’s financial review committee received a copy of SGA’s budget outlining spending.

The committee will explain the findings in that budget to congress, Sears said.

Taylor said he thinks the budget debacle will lead to better record keeping by SGA.

“This has been a good lesson,” he said.

Reach Molly O’Connor at [email protected]