College Council’s (CC) recent bylaw change allowing Council to appoint an assistant to the treasurer is a much-needed addition of manpower where CC’s finances are concerned. Each year, the CC treasurer handles hundreds of thousands of dollars in College funds in a complex and critical process of voucher forms, purchasing cards and account transfers. While we hope that the addition of this position will ease the burden on the treasurer and improve the accuracy and efficiency of the funding process, we also urge CC to ensure that this position becomes an asset to the organization rather than further complicating an already complex financial system.
Since the treasurer’s position will be split between two students this term, we hope that the assistant to the treasurer will provide continuity between this spring and next fall. Additionally, as the new assistant to the treasurer is a member of the Financial Committee (FinCom), we are confident that this person understands CC financial policy and accounting practices. Expertise aside, CC should take the final few weeks of this semester and next fall to objectively assess the utility of this new position. Moreover, while we recognize that it was impossible for a variety of reasons to seek a candidate for this position outside of CC at this time, we hope that as this position is developed and formalized, the assistant to the treasurer will become an elected CC position.
Having an extra set of eyes overseeing the funding process has the potential to bolster CC’s accountability on financial matters, but only if the treasurer and assistant communicate with each other effectively and efficiently. The treasurer’s work is critical to the proper functioning of all manner of student groups and clubs, and it is work that is both labor-intensive and detail-oriented. While we understand the need to provide the assistant with broad responsibilities in accordance with the treasurer’s needs, we hope that CC and the current treasurer will strive to delineate and enumerate the specific responsibilities of the assistant to avoid confusion and prevent important tasks from slipping through the cracks.
As the new assistant to the treasurer takes office, we encourage CC, particularly the treasurer and FinCom, to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of the current financial bylaws. While we applaud the strides already made to improve communication with student groups and clarify bylaws, much of the funding process would benefit from revision. We hope that the sharing of the treasurer’s responsibilities will free up time to carefully assess bylaws with the aim of not only clarifying this process but also streamlining it as much as possible.