At the Monash Student Council (MSC) meeting today the Student General Meeting (SGM) for the 9th of October was finally cancelled. The Executive did not acknowledge their push for an SGM in Week 11 was tokenistic in failing to honour the original SGM’s call for a meeting in August. Tellingly, for the first time this year, MSC lost quorum when a motion was presented detailing misappropriation of line items in the Wholefoods budget, meaning the meeting immediately closed.
We have uncovered two major irregularities in the Wholefoods budget and a third notable item, which a motion we presented to MSC on the 3rd of October aimed to resolve.
First, we found the MSA-appointed Wholefoods Manager and Wholefoods Chef salaries are still being charged to the Wholefoods budget, despite them not working in Wholefoods this whole semester. In fact, they most recently were working at Sir John’s Bar, despite their salaries being charged to the Wholefoods budget. They have both since left the MSA, but by the end of the year both will end up being paid around $40 000 extra than they have actually worked because of contractual obligations.
Second, $10,651 in legal fees were charged to the Wholefoods budget, the first time we know in MSA history this has not been charged to the Monash Student Council line items. Wholefoods Collective did not authorise this transaction, the MSA Executive did in response to questions regarding the MSA ‘Volunteer Reward Program’, they imposed over the summer break.
Third, although the Wholefoods Collective were never involved in the production of redesign documents, Tony Schindler Food Service Consulting were engaged twice for $6798 and $2508, charged to the Wholefoods budget.
In summary, due to these irregularities and consultations, Wholefoods is heading for its largest loss in its history, of roughly $100 000. It remains to be seen whether this is a deliberate pretext to radically change Wholefoods over the summer break.
The misappropriation motion that was not discussed:
This MSC condemns the misappropriation of expenditure to the Wholefoods budget including:
a) the continual funding of the former Wholefoods Manager and former Wholefoods Chef from the Wholefoods budget as unreasonable. The total amount paid to these two former employees will reach up to $40,000 by the end of the year. Since neither former employees have been working in Wholefoods this semester and have in fact been working at Sir John’s Bar, the attribution of their salaries should be redirected from Wholefoods to Sir John’s Bar (for the period of time worked there), and otherwise from the MSA general Overheads budget for time not worked, in keeping with sound accounting practices.
b) the charging of costs associated with the services of Tony Schindler Food Service Consulting to Wholefoods of $2508 on 31/1/2012 and $4290 on 25/7/2012, totalling $6798 from line item 601500 from the Wholefoods budget.
c) the legal advice procured by MSC Executive pertaining to the Wholefoods Volunteering system attributed to 620200 Legal & Financial Service of $10,651, ought to be deducted from the MSC budget.
Finally, we direct the MSA President to investigate this misappropriation and provide a written explanation for why this has occurred by the next MSC.
In the spirit of constructive dialogue, we welcome future discussions with the Executive and a mutually agreeable solution soundly based on extensive research.