By: Valentina Palm & Victor Jorges/PantherNOW Staff
The new comptroller for the Student Government Council at the Modesto Maidique Campus, who will be deeply involved in deliberating on the University’s Activity and Service budget, is raising concern among some senators because of his inexperience.
Lorenzo Correa is a full-time finance student taking five classes, a part-time Chase Bank employee, member of the Phoenician Investment Fund and an intramural volleyball player.
And now he’s the comptroller for the SGC-MMC.
As SGC-MMC comptroller, Correa will manage and disperse Activity and Service funds totaling over $20 million along with Sabrina Rosell, SGC-MMC president; Jefferson Noel, president of the Student Government Council at the Biscayne Bay Campus; and Ronan Kelly, SGC-BBC comptroller.
The yearly Activity and Service fee budget hearings, where student organizations make their case for funding, happen every spring. The deliberations began this year on Tuesday, Feb. 12, about a month after Correa was appointed by the Senate.
That gives him little time to study the finance codes and understand the operating procedures of SGA before hearings and deliberations are over.
Several senators raised concerns during his appointment hearing regarding his availability and ability to accomplish his responsibilities as comptroller.
“He seems like he is aware of what is going on. I just don’t know if he feels as confident to fulfill that at this point,” said Bertha Vera, the senator for Public Health and Social Work. “We can’t afford to have another person resigning three, four or six weeks into the semester because they were overwhelmed with what they are doing.”
The comptroller is usually appointed by the president and appointed by the senate earlier in an election cycle, but Correa was appointed after the position was left vacant when former Comptroller Carolina Gonzalez resigned last semester following impeachment trials based on her involvement with a contract guaranteeing positions for herself and others in SGC.
Rosell said Correa’s appointment was a relief for the council.
“Having had that vacancy for such a long time it was obviously a growing concern leading up to budgets and not knowing how the budgets would pan out if we were unable to fill the vacancy,” said Rosell. “Definitely, a hundred percent, he has lifted a weight from our shoulders.”
Rosell said to Student Media that SGC-MMC held an “inclusive” hiring process where senatorial leadership was able to voice their thoughts on Correa’s appointment.
“One of the concerns brought up in that process was definitely his time commitment but we are seeing the fruit from his knowledge outside of FIU and how he has been able to bring that to SGA”, said Rosell.
Correa said he still has a lot of work to do before deliberations.
“I don’t know if I’m confident, but I am still processing a lot of information that is still settling in right now,” said Correa to Student Media. “I’ve met so many people, I still have to go through many of the budgets they have given me, it’s hard to keep up with them. Thank God I have a team that is all of the e-board.”
Rosell is pleased with his performance chairing budget hearings so far and believes his busy schedule and work experience has benefited the council.
“He came very prepared and he’s known all the information, we’ve briefed each other on the budget, and he’s even pointed out things to me and Peter [ her vice president] that we wouldn’t have seen because he has an eye for numbers,” said Rosell.
Correa said he wasn’t involved in any extracurricular activities before at the University, and he didn’t know what to expect from his new role or how it would affect his school performance.
But now, Correa feels he has adjusted well.
“The first week, it was tough to get used to but eventually I found a way to enjoy the process,” said Correa. “I’ve never had such a busy semester.”
Correa said the biggest challenge of his recent appointment has been learning all the material in such a short time while managing school and work.
“For me, it was a huge overload of work and information so I had to be like a sponge,” said Correa. “The challenge was trying to balance school work and my job but apart from that I can say I’ve been reading the lengthy documents we have to read and going through all the budget requests that were given to me.”
Feature image by: Gerard Albert III/PantherNOW