The Student Campus Centre audit examined finances only up until the fiscal year ending April 30, 2013. Mike Verticchio did not begin his role as general manager of the SCC until September 2013 and had no role in its financial affairs prior to September 2013.
By Ramisha Farooq
As the 2012-13 fiscal year comes to an end, the Student Campus Centre (SCC) submitted an audit for approval by its Board of Directors, revealing a $63,154 deficit and $556,796 drop in cash flow.
In a confidential finance report obtained by The Eyeopener, Student Campus Centre (SCC) general manager Mike Verticchio states that several factors, including a high amount of spending on capital improvements and higher-thanexpected food and labour costs, led to the deficit.
In turn, the higher than expected spending on capital purchases caused a dramatic change in the cash flow this year, leaving the SCC at a cash position of $372,939 compared to last year’s $929,735.
Verticchio’s statement reads: “The cash position may look good at $372,939, but this is deceiving. The student centre’s financial statements include the accounts for the Ombudsperson’s office and restricted cash of $360,013.”
“This leaves the Ryerson student centre with $12,939 in available cash at April 30, 2013 which is unacceptable,” said Verticchio.
The SCC’s largest expenses were food for SCC-owned restaurants like the Oakham Cafe and general staff payroll.
Continuing Education Students’ Association of Ryerson (CESAR) president Shinae Kim has said that Verticchio is to blame for the mismanagement of funds leading to the drop in cash.
“With a majority of board members without even a clue on how to read a financial statement … it is turning out to be a bad idea to leave all this money and responsibility in the hands of people who simply don’t know what they’re doing,” said Kim.
Verticchio was recently hired to take over for long time general manager Eric Newstadt.
Before taking the position, Verticchio worked in several executive positions within the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) and George Brown college.
Kim said she believes the student centre is actually owned and operated by the general manger and CUPE 1281, the union currently representing most SCC employees and not, in fact, the true owners of the building, the Palin Foundation.
CESAR will now be requesting a forensic audit in order to locate the allegedly missing funds.
“Sitting on the Student Centre Board comes with serious responsibility as you are overseeing entire operations of the Student Centre, including overseeing finances,” said Kim.
In a statement from CESAR, Kim said she believes the solution to cash problems is to investigate who, what, when, where and how the money was spent.
In order to “locate” the $556,796 a Finance Committee was formed at a recent SCC board meeting, in order to manage the financial deficit and the cash problem, said Kim.
At the SCC Finance committee meeting on Nov.19, Verticchio spoke about a referendum to increase the student centre levy.
At an April 11 board of directors meeting, a Capital Replacement Fund and Cash Flow requirements plan was submitted stating that the Palin Foundation has never had to remove cash for the capital replacement fund and that the majority of the foundation’s financial resources has been spent on such capital improvements.
Improvements have included further accessibility measures and increased building repairs.
“The board of directors needs to evaluate how capital projects are implemented and should be concerned with the length of time that projects take to complete,” said Verticchio.
The document states that there are still issues surrounding project management and coordinating with Ryerson departments still exist.
“We have a handle on it,” said RSU president Melissa Palermo. “We are working to put a protocol in place to scale back.”
Palermo credits the loss of cash to Oakham House building repairs and increased spending in terms of subsidies. She also confirmed that no single member on the board manages the funds but the task is a group responsibility.
Management will be working on a new SCC budget to try and stem the loss of cash, to be submitted to the board of directors for the next meeting. The financial statement indicates that management will also try to reduce spending by at least $100,000. However, it is unclear as to how much can be saved by the end of the year.
CESAR believes that governance structure of the SCC should now be reviewed to mitigate risks and issues and equal representation from all three stakeholders in the Student Centre Board: two reps from CESAR, RSU, and one from the university.