Vice President of Finance candidates discuss transparency and communication in second debate

During Friday’s vice president of finance debate, the candidates agreed to pursue financial responsibility and student engagement, but diverged on how they would implement their plans.

During the debate, the candidates – AMS Head of Governance and Strategy Kamil Kanji, Associate Vice President of the Funds Lawrence Liu and the Arts Student Center (represented by Arts Advisor Mathew Ho) – discussed AMS financial transparency and outreach strategy to clubs, constituencies and the student body. .

In response to a question about improving financial transparency given the lack of a preliminary budget and unexplained changes to the budget last June, Kanji pledged to produce a preliminary budget and said it was necessary to keep the AMS board “constantly” informed.

The ASC said it thinks the AMS could approach the transmission of information such as the quarterly reports that the finance office produces differently. He said the information could be better attributed to more public outlets such as the AMS website. Kanji agreed that the information could be presented in a more “digestible” way.

On the budget, Liu said his priority would be to “start work earlier” to ensure the finance committee has time with the budget documents.

In response to a question about the transition to the new AMS financial system, the candidates had similar goals for improving communication between clubs and AMS constituencies with slightly different approaches.

Liu expressed the need to bridge the gap between individual club treasurers and the vice president’s finance office in the form of town hall meetings and to “create as many resources” as possible, such as Canvas modules with video tutorials. and workshops.

Kanji stressed the need to establish a solid timeline for repayments and said he would engage frequently with the vice president of undergraduate constituency finance.

The ASC said actively checking data on issues clubs might have with the system and establishing a faster response time is a better approach than relying on caucus meetings.

An audience member quizzed the candidates on their communications strategies, asking how they would increase communications output with the already “extremely busy” department.

The CSA has stated that it has no objection to adding staff to the communications department to meet the needs.

“Some people think there’s a need to cut services…the ASC doesn’t object to more people in the communications department doing it more efficiently,” he said.

Liu said the social media communication could come from the vice president’s finance office itself, in addition to using his connection with other student organizations to spread financial information.

Kanji agreed with Liu on the need to work with clubs and constituencies, but expressed the need to “reshuffle priorities” in communication.

“I think there are a lot of things the communications department is currently working on regarding various events and initiatives, but I think it’s about making sure we find the time for it,” Kanji said. .

During closing statements, the candidates summarized the main objectives of their campaigns.

Liu said he thought his platform was realistic given he would only be in office until May next year. Kanji focused on the details of his platform, saying he has deep plans. The ASC ended the debate by saying that while this works as a joke, that doesn’t mean their platform isn’t serious.

Voting will be open from Monday, September 26 at 12:01 a.m. to Thursday, September 29 at 5:00 p.m.

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