VP Finance resigns mid-council meeting
The Arts and Science Federation of Associations’ Interim VP Finance resigned halfway through the group’s special council meeting last Thursday, Aug. 27. The incident took place during an agenda point accusing him of lacking transparency.
David Ness, who has been in the role for three months, led the financial committee in approving budgets for member associations this academic year. During this time, financial committee members say they felt Ness was not allowing committee members access to documents.
During council, committee member and councilor for the Italian Student Association Melissa Di Lena introduced a motion to mandate the VP Finance to give Financial Committee members access to all financial documents. She said Ness refused to send her the financial documents she was requesting. She also said she didn’t feel included or listened to in the committee, so when Ness allegedly told her to “bring [the concerns about transparency] up at the committee meeting,” Di Lena said she felt she would be taken more seriously at council.
But once council moved on to the agenda point, students at the meeting started bringing up accusations of inappropriate behavior by Ness, including allowing non-committee members into closed-session discussions and drinking during meetings.
As council was discussing the possibility of creating a co-chair position for the committee, Ness introduced an amendment to transfer “my signing authorities to one of the other executives as I tenure my resignation from ASFA,” before walking out of a seventh-floor conference room in the Hall Building.
On his way out of the meeting, Ness told the press he feels the attacks are personal.
Ness denied ever having non-committee members in closed-session meetings. He says member associations were allowed into the meeting to defend their budgets and left once the meeting returned to closed-session.
When asked about accusations of drinking during meetings, Ness replied, “no comment.”
Ness was one of ASFA’s signing officers, and shortly after his departure, council voted to give that responsibility to Interim VP Communications Lianne Barnes.
Ness’s departure has slimmed down the already understaffed executive of ASFA: the organization has no current President, VP Internal, and now VP Finance, which under normal circumstances, are ASFA’s signing authorities.
Board Member Training for Executives shot down
During the special council meeting, members of ASFA’s Strategic Planning Committee presented a plan to give the executives board member training.
The training is designed to work with the group’s executives to help the organization find its strategic vision and help the executives discuss their visions for ASFA long-term.
Council entered closed-session for nearly 90 minutes for the presentation and to debate the training, which would cost ASFA around $3,200. Council voted down the idea, but requested more information so the idea could be reproposed during the September council meeting.