The purpose of the Grand Quaestor’s Financial Policy is to assist with ensuring that proper business practices, procedures, and protocols are followed within our organization. The Grand Quaestor is elected and charged with the general oversight and soundness of the Fraternity’s financial condition. It is also each and every brother’s responsibility to carry out and conduct the business of the Fraternity prudently and properly. The Grand Quaestor will issue certain policies and guidelines to assist in clarity, understanding, and adherence to the appropriate execution of business operations within the Fraternity. Where appropriate, various other fraternal entities such as the Executive Committee, the Audit Committee, the Investment Committee, and others may request additions to the Grand Quaestor Policy Positions and/or may endorse items to provide further clarification and direction. The following policies are not necessarily designed to be all-encompassing and complete but will be added to, and revised, on an ongoing basis to meet the ongoing needs of the Sigma Chi Fraternity.
The Grand Quaestor’s Expense Guidelines
The Sigma Chi Fraternity greatly appreciates the volunteer efforts of many brothers who carry out the mission of our organization. The time, talents, and treasures contributed by our volunteers is truly an invaluable resource. To operate the Fraternity, we rely upon the generosity of brothers in many ways. We recognize that taking time away from family and business matters to perform services on behalf of the Fraternity is a significant and valuable commitment. Those efforts could never be fully compensated. It is our desire to attempt to assist with some of the basic costs for those who perform services on behalf of the Fraternity. We also recognize that many volunteers perform services and expend personal funds without ever seeking financial reimbursement. We thank you for that tremendous generosity.
It is each brother’s responsibility to help the Fraternity operate in a financially sound manner. The economical use of available resources is a basic need that requires the assistance of every brother. By accomplishing this task, we can do more with what we have. Your assistance in following the expense guidelines as detailed below is greatly appreciated.
Members of the Executive Committee, the Grand Praetors, the Grand Trustees, the Education, and Leadership Board, and the Headquarters Staff receive reimbursement for expenses incurred while serving the Fraternity in an official capacity. In addition, undergraduate members of the Grand Council receive reimbursement when attending meetings of the Grand Council as authorized and approved by the Executive Committee’s approved budgets.
Each year the Executive Committee approves a budget that allocates those financial resources to the various operations and activities of the Fraternity. Because there are insufficient resources to fund all Fraternity operations, a priority is established which often limits funds available for those operations, and in too many instances denies or eliminates funds for some projects or operations.
A budgeted allocation of the Fraternity’s financial resources should NOT be considered a mandate to fully expend those resources. The budget allocation should be considered a first option to use those funds but only so much as is necessary to fulfill the successful completion of the project or operation. Funds should be conserved, and any unused funds made available to the General Fraternity for use in other areas or activities. Unexpended budgeted funds expire at the end of the accounting period and are not carried forward.
Elected and appointed volunteers are fiduciaries of the funds entrusted to them, for the benefit of the total membership and the Fraternity. As fiduciaries, they are obligated to champion those financial resources and expend those resources prudently and economically.
Pursuant to the governing laws (Statute 4.16), the Grand Quaestor must approve all expense reimbursement requests or he may empower the Executive Director to act in his stead.
All other expenses incurred other than outlined in this policy must have the approval of the Executive Committee and/or the Grand Quaestor.
Air travel must be made at the lowest possible fare, and the ticket booked at least 21 days prior to departure. The total cost of the ticket must not exceed $400 unless prior approval has been granted by the Grand Quaestor or his designee. The lowest possible fare will not consider any fare which requires the traveler to leave his home before 7:00 AM nor arrive back at his home after 11:30 PM, although a traveler is free to consider those options if he wishes. Any variation from this guideline must be approved in advance by the Grand Quaestor or his designee.
The Fraternity requires the use of its wholly-owned travel agency Blue and Gold Travel for all air travel arrangements which are to be paid for or reimbursed by the Fraternity. The use of the agency allows for direct billing to the Fraternity of all travel expenses. The utilization of the travel agency is compulsory. It is recognized that there may be cost savings and travel discounts achieved by booking flights through other means or directly with air carriers. Therefore, the Fraternity encourages each brother to watch for specials, to make early arrangements for known travel needs, and to advise our authorized travel agency of any special airfare program available. It is each brother’s personal responsibility to seek out the most economical means of travel and help keep costs to the lowest possible rates by communicating these rates to our travel agent for matching. Should individuals decline to follow the travel guidelines, reimbursement should not be expected.
It is also the responsibility of the various committee and meeting chairmen, as well as budget owners, to review and monitor the travel costs of respective participants and to maintain overall expenditures within their allocated budget.
Privately Owned Automobile
The rate per mile for reimbursement is $.35. Rental cars are not an allowable expense without the prior approval of the Grand Quaestor. In the event that reimbursement for the cost of a rental car has been approved, the General Fraternity will only reimburse the base cost of the automobile and assumes no liability for the operation of the motor vehicle.
Other Travel Costs
Other reimbursable costs of travel include: transportation to and from airports by bus or taxi and long-term parking. Brothers are encouraged to use the most economical means of this travel-related cost.
Brothers entitled to reimbursement will share a room with other equally entitled Brothers. In those cases where a Brother prefers to occupy a room alone, the difference between the single rate and one-half of the double rate will be the responsibility of that Brother. Please contact Headquarters to coordinate room assignments. The booking of hotel rooms should be coordinated through the Fraternity’s Senior Director of Conference Services and group rates and conference discounts should be utilized. Lodging should be at the most economical locations consistent with safety and accessibility. Transportation to and from any necessary airport should be duly considered both for the cost of the transportation to and from the airport and the time required to travel to or from the airport. Preference should be given to lodging that includes a shuttle to and from the airport when air travel is involved in the meeting. The Fraternity will not cover lodging expenses exceeding $130 per night without the prior approval of the Grand Quaestor or his designee.
The cost of individual meals will generally not be reimbursed. However, it is recognized that various functions and meetings utilize working meals and breaks. If approved within the respective meeting’s budget, the cost of such working meals can be approved by the meeting chairman and authorized budget owner. Meeting and event meals should be reasonable and limited for the efficient implementation of the approved meetings or events.
Individual reimbursed meals for volunteers should be reasonable and limited to only cover expenses that are necessary for the efficient implementation of the responsibilities of their position and are above and beyond what the volunteer would personally spend. In no case should personal expense reimbursements exceed $55 per day.
The Executive Committee’s travel budget is for travel to Executive Committee meetings only and is determined with anticipation that at least one of its meetings will be held at Headquarters (or central location) annually. No reimbursement will be granted to another Grand Officer to attend an Executive Committee meeting unless he is specifically invited and the Executive Committee has agreed in advance to pay his expenses.
The travel expense budget of the Grand Consul is prepared with the anticipation that he, or his designate, will serve as the Fraternity’s official representative at significant Fraternity events. When the Grand Consul is unable to accept an invitation to a Fraternity event, he may designate another Grand Officer to serve as the Fraternity’s official representative. That other officer’s proximity to the event should be taken into consideration when designated. His expense reimbursement requests will be approved by the Grand Quaestor.
The Board of Grand Trustees has budgeted amounts to conduct an annual meeting in addition to their Grand Chapter/Grand Council sessions. This meeting is budgeted with the anticipation that it will be held at the Headquarters or another central economical location. Individual trustees may receive travel reimbursement for specific committee assignments or specialized consulting in the areas of housing, development, mortgage, financing, and related matters. The Chairman of the Grand Trustees will review and monitor expenditures of his Board and maintain overall expenditures within budget allocations.
Grand Praetors are allowed reimbursement for activities as specified in the duties of their office and within their respective provinces. Grand Praetors may be reimbursed for one visit per year to each chapter in his province unless the Executive Committee specifically requests additional visits. Grand Praetors are encouraged to communicate frequently with their chapter officers and advisors, house corporation officers, alumni officers, and others who serve in support roles to the chapters of the province to supplement actual chapter visits. Expenditures outside the province must be authorized at least 21 days in advance by the Grand Quaestor. Allowable expenses for the Grand Praetors are travel and lodging and all-expense guidelines for these costs should be followed.
Assistant Grand Praetors are not elected Grand Officers and their expenses are generally not reimbursable, however subject to approval by the Grand Praetor and subject to the guidelines of this document, an Assistant Grand Praetor appointed pursuant to ECR 4.17-2 may receive reimbursement. If the Assistant Grand Praetor is acting on behalf of the Grand Praetor as stated in ECR 4.17-3, he is entitled to the same reimbursement the Grand Praetor would have received. In no event should the Assistant Grand Praetor and the Grand Praetor both receive reimbursement for the same event or for visits to the same chapter without prior authorization from the Grand Quaestor. The Dean of the Praetorial College will review and monitor the expenses of the Praetorial College and maintain the overall expenditures within budget allocations.
Province Conference Workshop
A Province Conference/Workshop is expected to be self-sustaining. Delegate registration fees should cover the cost of meals, facilities, special materials, and lodging for everyone, including members. The cost of travel, lodging, and other expenses for the Grand Praetor of the province is reimbursable. Any other expenses must be approved 21 days in advance.
The General Fraternity budgets $400.00 per province to assist with each Province Conference (this amount is in addition to the cost of the Praetor’s attendance). These funds are to be used for expenses incurred in conjunction with conducting the event and can only be requested by the Grand Praetor. If a Grand Officer or member of Headquarters staff is invited to a province conference as a speaker, the delegate registration fees and not the General Fraternity should cover his expenses. When inviting a Grand Officer or member of Headquarters staff to attend a province conference, the Grand Praetor or organizer should discuss the issue of reimbursement of the Officer or staff by the province to avoid any miscommunications.
Provinces that participate in the Cornerstone Mentor program are also eligible for additional funds. The specific amount of funds will vary depending on the province size. Each Grand Praetor eligible to receive Cornerstone Mentor funds is encouraged to access those funds.
An incumbent Grand Officer receives reimbursement for his travel to the Grand Chapter even if he is not reelected. The expenses of a new or reelected Grand Officer are covered from the date he is sworn into office. The Fraternity will reimburse in accordance with the Travel Policy set forth herein and the General Fraternity will reimburse Grand Officers for 50 percent of the double room rate for hotel costs.
Grand Council Meeting
Elected Grand Officers and undergraduate representatives (one per province) to the Grand Council receive reimbursement for their travel and lodging associated with the meeting. Meals will generally be provided on-site during the meeting. Attendees must be present for the entire meeting to receive any reimbursement. Undergraduate Grand Council members do not receive reimbursement for expenses incurred at the province level outside of attending Grand Council.
Education and Leadership Board
The Education and Leadership Board members receive expense reimbursement as allowed in their annual budget approved by the Executive Committee. The Chairman of the Education and Leadership Board is responsible for monitoring, reviewing, and maintaining overall expenditures within that allocated budget.
Committee chairmen must seek approval of the Grand Consul and the Grand Quaestor in advance for any expenses to be incurred. Each chairman should endeavor to minimize the expense of his committee and is responsible to review and maintain expenditures within their allocated budget.
Headquarters Staff Visitation
The travel expenses for members of the General Fraternity Headquarters Staff are the responsibility of the Executive Director and are subject to review by the Grand Quaestor. Undergraduate chapter visitation for the regular staff is an expense of the General Fraternity. However, chapters designated to receive additional discipline-related visits by staff may be required to bear the cost of such visits. In addition, special “need-based” visits, as requested by the Grand Praetor or the Executive Committee, may be charged to the chapter visited. Such request for this type of travel must be detailed in writing and made directly to the Executive Director by the Grand Praetor well in advance of the proposed visit.
Sites selected for committee or board meetings away from Headquarters should be made only after comparability analysis of costs and expenses for all persons attending the meeting have been performed by the Fraternity Conference Services. Consideration should be given to the availability of special rates or hosted accommodations, as well as occurrences of Fraternity events at the meeting location. Event planners should consider if individual billing versus master accounts would provide the most economical payment arrangement for any particular meeting and group.
In the event an individual traveling for the Fraternity decides to use their frequent flyer miles or hotel points, the Fraternity will not be able to reimburse expenses based on the use of those rewards.
In the spirit of Sigma Chi’s Alcohol and Drug Policy, the General Fraternity will not reimburse or pay for any alcoholic beverages under any circumstances.
Mechanics of Rendering Reimbursements
Expense reimbursement requests should be timely submitted after each travel event and within 30 days of actual expenditure. All expense reimbursement requests are to be submitted to the Executive Director unless otherwise directed. Failure to submit receipts for expenses over $10 may result in requests being delayed or denied. Receipts for hotel and airline expenses must be attached in all cases. Should individuals not follow the expense guidelines, their reimbursement privileges may be restricted.
The expense reimbursement request forms have a column for listing total expenses, a column for the amount of reimbursement being requested, and an opportunity to contribute to the Sigma Chi Foundation. Contributions to the Sigma Chi Foundation are tax-deductible and, as such, provide an opportunity to reduce your overall tax bill. The Sigma Chi Foundation will provide you with a written acknowledgment of gifts in excess of $250 pursuant to the requirements of the Revenue Reconciliation Act of 1993.
Sigma Chi’s have a volunteer spirit and an appreciation for financial responsibility. We thank you for your service and your adherence to the expense guidelines.