Monday, June 1, 2015

UCG Mark Mickelson/Don Ward Claim Vic Kubik And Others Bypassed Council In Order To Hire New Pastor Trainee's

Trust us and blindly follow...

I received the following information regarding a recent UCG Council meeting.

It seems that Vic Kubik, along with two others, unilaterally decided that UCG was hiring three new men to be trained as pastor's and one trainee to receive a stipend, without getting the entire Council's approval.  They apparently bypassed the Council of Elders in this decision without consulting them for any input and to where the money was coming from to pay them.

Excerpts from Council letter:

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Chairman Robin Webber called the meeting to order at 4:08 p.m. Eastern, and the meeting was opened with prayer. All 12 Council of Elders (Council) members were present....

New Hired Ministerial Trainees—Robin Webber 

Mr. Webber mentioned a Council member had brought forward a concern regarding the hiring process. He asked the Council’s permission to place it on today’s agenda. The topic would be hiring of trainees mentioned in Mr. Kubik’s member letter sent out this week. The question was raised about what part the Council has in helping with these decisions. Also the budget called for four new hires. Where will the money come for the fifth hire?

The discussion surrounding the interpretation of 8.7.2 (1) that deals with a stated Council responsibility of “to approve the selection of all officers, agents and employees; also to remove, if necessary, any officer, agent or employee; to prescribe duties for them; to approve their compensation; and to require from them their faithful services.”

The Council is within its bounds to interpret the bylaws on its own, and this bylaw has been subject to various interpretations over the years.

The chairman reminded the Council that the administration had brought their plans forward twice regarding the ministerial training program via a videoconference meeting before the General Conference of Elders (GCE) conference and the recent May meetings that followed.

Additionally, legal counsel Larry Darden mentioned current human resources (HR) policy for hiring states the Council can delegate to the president. For new positions the president is to get approval.

Chris Rowland mentioned that this isn’t a new position.

Mr. Webber said that the administration has put the names forward and feels there is a sense of urgency to train these individuals at this time. Three of those six trainees will be moved to train under another pastor. Those names can’t be currently shared at this time due to processes of notification and notifying current employers.

Don Ward asked how these men were selected from all the names put forward by pastors. And who decides where they will be moved to?

Roy Holladay explained that these individuals had their names put forward and were highly recommended by church pastors. Others in the current listing will be looked at for the future.

Dr. Ward reiterated his question about who decided on these six.

Roy Holladay said they are available and qualified. There will be four to five recommended each year from pastoral input. It was then clarified that there were three who made the ultimate selection of these six trainees with input from their pastors: Victor Kubik, Roy Holladay and Chris Rowland.

Mr. Holladay, answering the second question, said that these new trainees will be placed with men who have specific mentoring skills. In the ministry different individuals have varying skills, and it’s a unique skill to be able to mentor others towards this calling.

Mr. Rowland, in further clarifying the first question, said that the selection was made from pastoral input. A letter was sent to all those individuals who were recommended to get further details on those men.

Mark Mickelson mentioned that he believes the Council and administration are operating outside of our bylaws. There are issues in terms of doctrine, issues in terms of employment and issues in terms of media that should receive Council approval that are not receiving Council approval at this time. And those are all separate discussions that he would give more detail on if wanted. What is being discussed now brings up the point that the Council does have responsibility for new hires and not just new positions. We need to either change our bylaws or change the way we operate. He doesn’t think this is the way we agreed to operate. He also asked for the Council to consider face-to-face meetings in August to address these things.
Robin Webber is then "surprised" that anyone dared to question what had happened.

Mr. Webber inserted a measure of surprise and desired explanation of Mr. Mickelson’s stated position that this might impact doctrine.

Bill Bradford said that with the new trainee hires there was no approval by the Council. He reiterated the inquiries already raised about the hiring process and making sure the new trainees are doctrinally sound. He also asked Mr. Rowland where the money is coming from when this many new trainees were not in the budget.

Mr. Rowland replied that this was discussed with treasurer Rick Shabi. Ministerial and Member Services (MMS) feels that with the environment in the Church right now we have to be able to act quickly at times. He then mentioned that the extra funds came from what is in the bank already.

In reference to Mr. Mickelson’s previous statement, Mr. Webber asked the administration to share an overview of their selection process in regards to qualifications and doctrinal soundness.

Mr. Holladay said that locally he talked to Steve Myers about them. There are always unknown quantities with all of us that we deal with. MMS is very comfortable with all of the selected individuals.

Mr. Bradford asked if the others who had their names put forward by pastors were interviewed as well. Mr. Holladay replied that they were not. Mr. Bradford asked why not.

Mr. Holladay replied that letters were sent out to get their input. Several wrote back that they would like to serve, but for various reasons could not do so at this time. They weren’t interviewed, but there was communication with them. The Council has the authority to review all hires but has not always exercised that authority.

Mr. Rowland commented that Roc Corbett specifically brought this bylaw to the Council’s attention on his behalf during the recent review of the bylaws, to ask for direction on the handling of new hires. The Council said nothing about doing anything differently.

Mr. Webber went back to the fundamental issue: that the Council reviews the credentials of the president and operation managers. All elections and selections have consequences regarding our choices. Once made, we place confidence in such individuals while maintaining oversight. The Council strives to offer the administration as much leeway as possible. It’s a process that we work through.

John Elliott mentioned bylaw 8.7.2 and that it appears to need further clarification. Mr. Webber asked what kind of clarification it needs. Mr. Elliott said it needs clarification in regards to hiring, as was stated by MMS. He suggested that this topic be brought up for a future meeting.

Mr. Webber agreed. He had talked with secretary Gerald Seelig that morning about this topic and asked for his input.

Mr. Seelig said that since 1997 this has been an issue with questions that arise and can be contentious at times.

Mr. Webber restated that the Council should always have oversight, but should not micromanage.

Peter Eddington mentioned that at the home office the precedent has been that the Council has delegated it to the president. This is what is being followed. If there is a need to change that precedent then it needs to be made clear.

Scott Ashley said that four years ago we went through a time when 15 to 20 new hires had to be done, and they weren’t brought before the Council. He doesn’t see any breaking with precedent, but that also doesn’t mean the Council can’t address it again.

Mr. Kubik stated that what we have been doing with the hiring of the six new trainees is still a very new thing. Mr. Kubik reminded the Council that at the home office they meet regularly and prayerfully. They are careful to not mention names too quickly, and they are learning from what they have done. They appreciate the input from the pastors at the regional conferences.

Mr. Webber mentioned this is not an end, both in the ministerial training selection process and in the lives of those not currently selected. He mentioned his own experience at Ambassador College of not being immediately selected to “go out” after graduation and the course it took. Much is yet to occur in the lives of all these individuals.

Mr. Webber asked the Council about their desire to take a straw poll to get the feeling of the Council in this matter.
Don Ward feels that certain UCG leaders are bypassing the Council in several actions.  One was the epic failure of UCG's new web site that shoved official church teaching to the secondary pages on the web site instead of boldly proclaiming their doctrines and intent on its main page.  After being widely mocked by countless web sites and its own members, the Council is trying to bandage that "ouchie" up.

Dr. Ward didn’t think it was necessary for a straw poll. His understanding was that people proposed would be narrowed down so the Council could then discuss the final hires. He was surprised to hear of the new hires in Mr. Kubik’s letter with no discussion from the Council. He asked, “Regarding the new hires, is the Council to give input, or is the administration just wanting it rubber stamped?” Dr. Ward stated that he understood the desire to put confidence in the administration to perform their roles, but major issues come up at times in which more immediate Council review and oversight is needed. Such an issue was the recent rollout of the new website that needed more initial Council direction and careful review to ensure that the Church’s positions are accurately stated. Here was a case in point of the need for more immediate and necessary Council oversight on a major item, which did occur.

Mr. Holladay commented a number of the new traineees are already in the process of changing careers. It would be difficult for them to wait until there is the Council approval at this point. The issue of them being doctrinally sound is very valid. This is one of the reasons for having them trained under a pastor who is balanced. For the round of hiring we take the Council’s input and improve the process, but at this time we have already committed to hiring these men.

Mr. Mickelson stated that he would prefer not to take a straw poll since the decision has already been made.

Mr. Elliott suggested that the Roles and Rules Committee (RRC) can have the issue of the bylaw remanded to it. Then the RRC can have a proposal for this process for the August meeting.

Mr. Rowland said he would be glad to send out policy 2.1, “Recruitment and Hiring” from the human resources (HR) policy manual to anyone who wants to review it, because it is pretty clear about what the process is. This policy was approved by the Council in 2001. The process needs the approval of the Council and/or the president to hire someone. If something is needed to be updated it would be this HR policy.

Mr. Mickelson asked if the precedent referred to by Mr. Eddington and Mr. Rowland also included spending money outside the approved budget. Any spending that is not within the planned budget needs be addressed by the Council at a later date, which would include salaries and moving expenses.

You would think that close to twenty years after UCG's formation that they would have things all figured out.  Since they were the "new and much improved" Church of God at that time, they set out thinking they would be a  better church and be run more efficiently.  The problem is, and always has been, is that the very foundation of the UCG was envisioned in clandestine backstabbing plan's in Kubik's on-campus apartment on how to take as much money and members as they could while they were all still employees of the Worldwide Church of God. Every single person in power in UCG was a minister in power in WCG where they did what they wanted and spent as they wanted.  That power carried right over into UCG along with the abuse and wastefulness they participated in when in the WCG.  Nothing truly has changed in UCG. Ethics has never been the banner of the UCG since its inception.


Anonymous said...

Hmm. Looks like things are as they ever have been. There are bylaws. Guess who gets to interpret them. I'll give you one guess, it ain't the president...

The General Conference has final authority with respect to the interpretation and enforcement of the Constitution with respect to any controversy that may arise thereunder. The Council has final authority with respect to the interpretation and enforcement of these Bylaws and the Rules of Association and with respect to any controversy that may arise thereunder.

Now there are council members who are dissatisfied at how the bylaws are being interpreted. They're not happy that the council is being bypassed. They're not happy that they're not being consulted in these matters.

Not surprisingly these concerns are coming from among the new hires were not part of the previous hijacking plot. Frankly, at the time they were allowed onto the council, they were kowtowing, and brown-nosing, thankful that they were not themselves fired and sent packing by a handful of men who had just finished demonstrating that Jes— oops, I meant, THEY themselves were the undisputed masters of UCG.

But now time has gone by. They have gotten bigger but their britches, upon closer examination, have not. They think that their official positions and titles count for sh*t. They think the bylaws are there to be followed. They think that power ought to flow through the channels, and in the manner laid out in the governing documents. They seem to think UCG ought to operate according to the rule of law.

Well, these guys are about to get a lesson in how politics works. And it doesn't work by paper statements, official appearances, or above-board maneuvers. Really, being on the council, they should know this by now. The fact they do not suggests they would do well to watch "House of Cards" either the original version or the Netflix one.

These guys should know by now that these decisions WERE made with the approval of the council. Not the "official" council, mind you, but the functional one. The one that really holds the reigns of power. And guess what, the fact they feel like they're being left out of the decision-making process should be the very shot-across-the-bow that they're not on it. And if they weren't convinced by that, then hearing the justifications put forward and by whom, ought to quickly clue them into who really sits on this clandestine council that is leaving them out of the loop.

Raising a fuss like this, making a ruckus, and rocking the boat is going to lead to one place, and it isn't change, but their political demise.

Or, another way of looking at the UCG problem is that these guys claim to be able to tell you how to interpret some ancient documents, which they didn't write, but can't even figure out how to interpret their own damn governing documents, which they did?

Anonymous said...

I don't miss this bullshit "church government " drama one bit. No longer my circus and those aren't my monkeys ūüėč

Anonymous said...

First there was a split. Then there was another split. Now there is some contention at the board meetings. Really! Isn't this the "UNITED" Church of God?

A better name would be the "FRAGMENTED" Church of God!

Look at the fruit. Is God really in this mess?

Anonymous said...

This a paper tiger board. It is pretty clear that Mr. Don Ward is to be disfellowshipped for treason, bank robbery, or any other made up excuse. He thinks too much.

Anonymous said...

This is more proof that the old WCG was nothing but a personality cult.
Whether it is a one man dictatorship like the LCG,PCG, or RCG. Or an attempt to democrasize Armstrongism it is just not working. Why because the person that created Armstrongism is deceased. You take Armstrong out of Armstrongism and all you have left is just another "ism".

Byker Bob said...

In a way, these groups are suffering from the same problem as confronts the former Soviet Union. They are schooled in totalitarianism, and have no idea of the value of boards, councils, parliamentary procedures, or voting. The type of behavior we see with this particular incident provides a perfect illustration of what has been written into their very nature at this point in their lives. The leaders are attempting government from the top down, while those on the board believe they are actually empowered to provide representation, ie to have a meaningful vote. The old model of the rubber stamp board of HWA's day is the only way this sort of thing can be resolved in the world of Armstrongism. They've got as much hope of changing their behavior in this regard as they have of kicking British Israelism.


Connie Schmidt said...

Its one thing to have new hirees for things like the shipping room, or data entry , or other mundane routine tasks be delegated to the Home Office President and its HR department.

It is quite another issue when it comes to ministerial hires, who will be influencing 1000s of people potentially, and will be involved in life and death issues in the lives of the brethren, and for propoagating the organizations doctrines and practices.

Also, most ministerial hires are considered for life, and are seldom replaced for lack of performance. So once hired, you are pretty well stuck with them based on UCG culture. Such choices should thus be done with the widest amount of input and counselors, NOT a select handful, who may have personal or doctrinal agendas.

That being the case, the idea that ministerial hires would be reviewed by the entire council makes sense. What does not make sense to me is why are they bothering to hire more full time ministers anyway? Garner Ted Armstrong's Church of God International seemed to do just fine with an unpaid ministry out in the field. Ole Teds church was almost as big as UCG at its height with some 5000 members before the 1995 "masseuse" incident. It is not like UCG is having some kind of growth spurt. In fact, with its aging membership, its personnel needs are going to need to be decreased, not increased.

UCG is already the most "top heavy" payroll COG on the block, with some 50% of its revenue going to Pastoral compensation packages. An independent operating board that consisted of shareholders in the real world corporate realm would be demanding cutbacks, NOT adding on more ministry or expenses.