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Governing Documents Review Underway

May 26, 2010
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Implementation of the recent decision by the Council of Elders to review UCGIA’s governing documents has begun. Some men who have worked closely with the documents in past years and now, have been asked to recall instances where they experienced some difficulties with the clarity of the documents or their application in the “real world.”
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Specifically, the purpose of the review is to identify articles and clauses in the documents that are:
  • Ambiguous.
  • Obscure or poorly constructed.
  • Unnecessarily complex.
  • Impractical.
  • Inconsistent with, and/or in conflict with other articles, clauses and/or approved operational and administrative policies.
  • Inconsistent with, and/or in conflict with current organizational, operational and administrative practices.
After the input referred to above has been received, a team will be assembled to conduct a systematic review of each document (Constitution, Bylaws and Rules of Association) from the perspective of the criteria listed above.
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The plan calls for the team to submit recommendations to the Council by the end of 2010. That will be a tough call, but without deadlines tasks tend to lose their impetus. The team will report its progress via this blog from time to time to keep you informed.

Bill Eddington

Chairman, Roles and Rules Committee—Council of Elders

May 26, 2010 - Posted by | Council of Elders |

15 Comments »

  1. Dear Mr. Eddington,

    I would like to commend the council in general and your committee in particular for wholeheartedly tackling this important task! I pray that our Father will give each one of you the discernment to complete the activities in the specified timeframe. Our best efforts will never be perfect, but with our Father’s guidance, the task will be successfully accomplished!

    Wishing our Father’s blessing on your efforts!

    Comment by David W. Morker | May 26, 2010 | Reply

  2. Good Morning, Mr. Bill Edington, thank you and others brethrens that workind hard in foundational documents.
    Your brethren in Jesucrist
    Mardonio LLANOS
    lIMA-PERU

    Comment by Mardonio LLANOS | May 26, 2010 | Reply

  3. One Question: “Some men who have worked closely with the documents in past years and now”. Who are the “some men”. I’m sure many Members will like to know who they are.

    Comment by Tony Garcia | May 26, 2010 | Reply

  4. I believe that a resolution of a similar type got some men booted! Now, you feel it is something to do? Now, after you have harmed the reputation of those men. I have tried so hard to respect you, to find something that is respectable in everything that has happened. I tried…

    Comment by Sherrie Giddens | May 26, 2010 | Reply

  5. Hi Mr. Eddington:

    Thank you for the update. However, I believe an important part of this message should contain the names of those serving on this important committee. Could you please give us the names of those men? will this committee also include the major writer of the Constitution and By Laws as they would know intent?

    Thank you.

    Sandra Turley

    Comment by Sandra Turley | May 26, 2010 | Reply

  6. May God bless this undertaking and by his Spirit help all of the eldership who comprise the UCGIA Inc. to discern, acknowledge, confess, and be granted repentance from any past mistakes made in the conmduct of their affairs in God’s name (in other words in doing the Work of God).

    In a multitude of Godly counsel may you all begin to find the the success that comes from seeking God’s will in the conduct of your affairs–

    Tim McCaulley
    Jacksonville FL

    Comment by Tim McCaulley | May 26, 2010 | Reply

  7. Greetings Bloggers.

    Some questions have arisen following my post on May 26 about the review of UCGIA’s governing documents. Here are the answers.

    Q1. When did the Council of Elders make the decision to conduct the review.

    A. The Roles and Rules Committee placed its request for a review on the agenda for the December 2009 Council meeting but it was deferred to February due to lack of time.

    The review was on the agenda for the February meeting. The Council approved it on February 24 and it was included in the meeting report for that day. You will note from this date that the review was approved and publicised well ahead of the resolution proposed by the officers.

    Q2. Who are the men who have worked closely with the documents in past years and now?

    A.
    Roc Corbett – former Chairman of the Amendment Committee
    Larry Darden – UCGIA General Counsel
    Robert Dick – former Chairman of the Council of Elders
    Jim Franks – former Manager of Ministerial Services
    David Johnson – current Council and GCE Secretary
    Paul Kieffer – former COE member and head of UCG Germany
    Jason Lovelady – Treasurer and Operation Manager Finance
    Gerald Seelig – former Council and GCE Secretary.

    Q3. Who will comprise the team chosen to condust the review after initial input from the men named above is received?

    A. Not yet chosen. The Roles and Rules Committee will recommend the team to the Council in June.

    Q4. Will the review team ask for input from members of the GCE?

    A. There is no limitation as to whom the team may consult during the review and no specifics are included in the terms of reference approved by the Council at its May meeting.

    I hope these answers are detailed enough.

    Comment by Bill Eddington | May 26, 2010 | Reply

  8. Mr. Eddington,

    can you clarify Q3 above? What is meant by “after initial input from the men named above is received”? What input is the committee looking to receive from this team?

    Thanks

    Comment by Bryan Waddle | May 27, 2010 | Reply

  9. Mr. Eddington,

    Can you please expound on Q2? Is this an initial team or is this just a list of people that will send in ideas to you? Why would it not be everybody in the GCE be able to send in input?

    Thanks for your reply.

    Comment by Rhonda Waddle | May 27, 2010 | Reply

  10. Hello Mr. Eddington.

    I wonder if you could tell us who put forth the names of the men who were designated as having worked on the documents before. Was it the Council or perhaps you, as the Chairman of the RRC? I see men like Leon Walker and Les McCullough are not on the list, and I was wondering if they had been considered as well.

    Also, was Paul Kieffer involved with the process of drafting the original documents? Since we were not a part of United at that time, this is history we have little knowledge of.

    Thank you for your consideration of these matters.

    Comment by Karen Meeker | May 27, 2010 | Reply

  11. Stated above: Implementation of the recent decision by the Council of Elders to review UCGIA’s governing documents has begun. From the May 4, 2010 COE Report: “Bill Eddington (said) that it is not the intention of this task force to completely rewrite the governing documents, but just clarify them, although there may be some areas that need to be considered for a rewrite”.
    The following sentence is from The Officers previous request that was rescinded: “It is hereby resolved, that the General Conference of Elders shall establish a Governance Review Task Force to thoroughly examine our governmental structure and report to the General Conference of Elders its findings and recommendations for improvement”.
    Could you please clarify for us the specific differences in these two projects? What was so wrong with the one presented by the Officers and what makes this investigation into the documents different? The membership may assume it is the same thing. Is it because one says “documents” and one says “structure”? What improvements or changes are “off the table”?

    Comment by Ron Kelley | May 27, 2010 | Reply

  12. Some more questions have been asked about the review. It will be helpful to first quote from the Terms of Reference unanimously approved by the Council of Elders as they do clarify the purpose of the review, viz:

    “The purpose of the review is to identify articles and clauses in the documents that are:

    • ambiguous;
    • obscure or poorly constructed;
    • unnecessarily complex;
    • impractical;
    • inconsistent with, and/or in conflict with other articles, clauses and/or approved operational and administrative policies;
    • inconsistent with, and/or in conflict with current organizational, operational and administrative practices.”

    From reading the Terms of Reference it can be seen that the review is restricted to considering the governing documents and does not extend beyond that. With that background, the answers to recent questions are as follows (for ease of reference the numbering sequence from a previous response has been continued):

    Q5. What is meant by “after initial input from the men named above is received”? What input is the committee looking to receive from this team?

    A. Firstly, it is not a team. The men are individuals who have had experience working with the governing documents over time. The input that we seek is directly related to the Terms of Reference quoted at the beginning of this post. We are asking them if, in the course of their duties, they have encountered any instances where the documents as written have been problematic.

    Q6. Can you please expound on Q2. Is this an initial team or is it just a list of people who will send ideas to you. Why would not everybody in the GCE be able to send in input?

    A. As mentioned in the previous answer, they are individuals who have worked with the documents in the course of their duties. They have not been asked for “ideas”, but for instances where application of the documents has been problematic.

    In the second phase of the project the team assembled to conduct the review will be free to seek input from as wide a range of sources as they deem necessary – including GCE members.

    Q7. Who put forth the names of the men who were designated as having worked on the documents before?

    A. Based on my experience I, as Chairman of Roles and Rules, contacted the men to get input on their experience working WITH the documents, not ON the documents. We are not seeking input from the drafters of the original documents at this stage. The men contacted were also asked to nominate others they thought could provide input to the first stage of the review.

    Q8. Was Paul Kieffer involved with the process of drafting the original documents?

    A. No. But in any case, as pointed out in the previous answer, input from the men involved in the drafting of the original documents is not being sought in the first stage of the review.

    Mr. KIeffer was asked for input because he has experience with the Rules of Association from an international perspective and has questioned a related matter.

    Q9. Could you please give us the names of those serving on this important committee.

    A. As stated in the answer to Q3, the members of the review team have not yet been chosen.

    Q10. Will the committee include the writers of the Bylaws and Constitution, as they know the intent.

    A. Input will be sought from the original drafters. Whether that will be as members of the team or not, it is premature to say. The questioner raises the point of “intent”.

    This is important. We have already had an interpretation issue where knowing the original intent was required. Over time, original intent can become clouded, ignored or simply misapplied. Readers of this blog will be very aware of how the Supreme Court, since the late 1940s, has consistently ignored or misapplied Amendment 1 of the United States Constitution to the point that the Court’s interpretations have been far removed from the original intent of the Founding Fathers.

    That is not to say that original intent cannot be questioned in the light of changed circumstances and/or practical application.

    Original intent will be considered during the review.

    Q11. What are the specific differences between the review approved by the Council and the resolution proposed by the Officers?

    A. The questioner asks if the differences only reside in the respective uses of words “documents” and “structure”. I will respond to this from a personal perspective as a more extensive analysis should probably come from the Council of Elders as a body.

    It is clear to me that the review is limited to the specific points listed at the start of this response. The team will look at documentation and application only, anything else is beyond its responsibility. My personal view of the Officers’ resolution was that it was far more broad-ranging and did not preclude investigating and making recommendations regarding the management structure of UCGIA. It went far beyond the intent of the review previously approved by the Council and the specific Terms of Reference adopted later.

    Q12. What is off the table?

    A. Anything not included in the Terms of Reference.

    Q13. What was so wrong with the one presented by the Officers?

    A. Please refer to the comprehensive opinion drafted by UCGIA’s General Counsel and posted on the Council of Elders website on April 23, 2010. The availability of this opinion was advised to GCE members on the same date.

    http://coe.ucg.org/updates/legal-opinion-regarding-withdrawal-resolution

    Sorry for the length of this response but it was necessary in order to cover the questions. I hope I have covered them all.

    Bill Eddington

    Comment by Bill Eddington | May 27, 2010 | Reply

  13. Mr. Eddington,

    In the Terms of Reference unanimously approved by the Council of Elders, the last two bullet points are unclear.

    Will the Constitution and Bylaws be updated if they are inconsistent with, and or in conflict with articles, clauses and or approved operational and administrative policies or current organizational, operational and administrative practices?

    Asked a different way, should the Constitution / By Laws be updated or should the operational and administrative policies / practices be updated to be in line with the Constitution / By Lays?

    Comment by Bryan Waddle | May 28, 2010 | Reply

    • Bryan, until specific articles and/or policies are identified for possible revision, it’s very difficult to answer your question one way or the other. We’ll all have to see what is brought forward for consideration to determine the best approach. Perhaps policies will need to be aligned with our governing documents, or perhaps our governing documents will be proposed for amendment to meet our best practices.

      Comment by United Church of God | May 28, 2010 | Reply

  14. Just to clarify – I did not respond to Bryan Waddle’s follow-up question. The responder was not identified but I do agree with him/her. If any instances of inconsistency or conflict are identified during the review, they will be analysed from the perspectives of original intent and practicality and a carefully considered recommendation will be submitted to the Council.

    Comment by Bill Eddington | May 28, 2010 | Reply


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