ASUA officials laid to rest concerns raised last night by Associated Student of the University of Arizona senators about executive spending.
ASUA allocates thousands of dollars to executive operations accounts used by the president, administrative vice president and executive vice president, according to budgets obtained by the Arizona Daily Wildcat.
This year the amount agreed upon for the executive operations accounts was $7,000, a $2,000 cut from last year's budget.
Senator Daniel Wallace raised doubts at recent ASUA meetings about this amount of money being in the hands of only three people, its use, and the checks and balances used to handle these accounts.
Clifton Harris, ASUA treasurer, said the amount is not exorbitant and has historically been an appropriate limit for the executives. The total monies allocated represents only two percent of the total funds in ASUA's budget.
""These accounts, particularly this year, will be necessary because we need that flexibility in the budget for unforeseen circumstances,"" Harris said.
For example, a sustainability organization was founded last year after the budget had been approved by ASUA, so the then-administrative vice president allotted $1,000 to start the program, said Lesley Ash, sustainability director.
Other ways the funds have been used are for parking and transportation for ASUA officials, Harris said.
""When the president or others go to Phoenix for school business, they rent a motor pool car,"" Harris said. ""There and back is around $68. … They're small charges that add up.""
The ASUA president is also given a cell phone for school business, and long distance charges are paid for by these funds as well, Harris said.
""Potentially you could abuse it, but in general most things are free for cell phones nowadays,"" Harris said.
Gabby Ziccarelli, administrative vice president, said another way the funds are used is for the ASUA retreat that the administrative vice president plans each year.
""The retreat has been thousands of dollars in past years because they've held (the retreat) off campus and with expensive activities,"" Ziccarelli said. ""Now it's down to hundreds of dollars because we decided to do it on campus, and it's not our priority this year.""
In order to use these funds, there is a process used that takes time and paperwork, ASUA Executive Vice President Emily Fritze said.
An ASUA requisition form must be filled out stating which account the money is coming from, who is requesting the money, who or what department the funds will be transferred to and an estimated amount of money, Harris said.
He added that spending must be approved informally by both the treasurer and the president, Chris Nagata, who, Harris said, ""has made it a priority that he signs off on anything over $250.""
The request is then sent to ASUA business manager Gail Tanner to be signed off. She puts the request in to be approved by the UA and, after three to five days, can distribute the funds, Fritze said.
""There are extenuating circumstances, and there is an credit card (for ASUA) but you have to go to Gail no matter what,"" Harris said.
After each expenditure, a receipt must be returned to ASUA and the treasurer also receives monthly reports to monitor spending.
If an executive needs more money than they are allocated, other executives may transfer money from their operations accounts to the account in need.