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:
Robin Webber is then "surprised" that anyone dared to question what had happened.
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.
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.
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.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.
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.
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.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.