by Sarkis Ghazarian, Guild Budget Committee Representative
The Guild representative to the Budget Committee is an appointed position that is made by the Guild Executive. Along with this responsibility the appointee is also a member of the Guild Executive and the Guild Negotiation Team. Furthermore, this representative takes part in projects assigned by the Guild Executive Chief Negotiator and reports to the Guild President. The position provides 20% released time to take part in all of the meetings and projects.
The Budget Committee meets twice a month: 2nd Thursday and 4th Tuesday 12 months of each year from 12:10 p.m. -1:30 p.m.
The Budget Committee is chaired by Ron Nakasone in his capacity as Executive Vice President of Administrative Services. The Committee consists of representatives from the different constituent groups on campus: Guild (1), Academic Senate (1), CSEA (2), Administration (3), Students (2). Each of the representatives from these groups participates in the discussion of agenda items and the resulting votes on these items. Also, resource people are assigned to this committee and members of the campus community are always invited to attend and express their views on the agenda items. These individuals are not part of the voting process.
The task of the Budget Committee is to prepare the GCC budget for each academic year. This involves looking at budget items that are not part of the health and benefits line items: these are negotiated at the table with the Guild and CSEA. It is an opportunity for all constituent groups to look at the totality of the needs of GCC in its efforts to meet the educational needs of our students. For the most part, the discussions at the Budget Committee are held with that perspective in mind and are conducted in a collegial manner, even when there are strong differences of opinion on how the agenda items should be resolved.
During the last four years of my tenure on the Budget Committee the focus of the group has been to look at ways to cut the budget instead of expanding the budget due to the financial situation of the state of California. This has not been a process that people on the Budget Committee have looked forward to, but yet they have attempted to look at items of discussion that would make the least negative impact on students and employees at GCC. This goal has not always been reached, depending on the amount of funds that had to be removed from the budget of any given line item.
Members of the Budget Committee and all of us campus-wide have differing views on how to deal with the budget, in both good and bad times. The last four years have been part of the bad budget years for GCC. The Guild representative to the Budget Committee tries to provide the Guild perspective to the discussion, but one needs to keep in mind that the Guild has only one vote in the committee. Hence, I have attempted to put the Guild perspective in a larger context when I question or make an argument on an agenda item in order to gain more support for the position I am advocating.
Some of the agenda items that are discussed at the Budget Committee during the academic year include: the Salary & Benefit Study that was requested by the committee a couple of years ago and will be discussed later this year; time line preparation for the next academic year budget; review of line items to reduce costs to offset loss of revenue to the college; review replacement of faculty, classified and administration positions due to retirements in efforts to save money for the college; use of funds for emergencies such as replacement of broken equipment, power lines, water lines, etc.; requests for augmentation of budget line items from different programs, departments and divisions; impact of 50% law on college based on budget allocations; discussions on the Governmental Accounting Standards Boar (GASB) which deals with GCC's obligations for retirees in the future; review of different college accounts to see if there can be reductions for savings to the college; impact of costs for having or not having winter and summer sessions to the college; and development of Annual Budget Committee Principles to guide the committee in making its decisions for the academic year.
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