The 79th General Convention’s Very Special Opportunity

As we meet at General Convention in Austin, this 79th General Convention has the opportunity to take an action that has been a long time in coming. The opportunity that we have as the House of Deputies and House of Bishops is to approve a process that will enable the Executive Council to move forward in their deliberations that will allow the President of the House of Deputies (PHoD) to be compensated for the work that they have long been directed to perform.

This triennium I have had the privilege of serving as chair of the Task Force on Leadership and Compensation. Beginning in October 2015, our task force conducted in-depth confidential interviews with more than 75 deputies, bishops, laity, clergy, and individual members and participants in our Church. Our objectives in the conversations -- to listen to their concerns, learn of their understanding of the position of the PHoD and share and clarify the facts on the similar duties of Church staff who are compensated.

Our conversations were confidential, and we are grateful for the forthright and honest contributions of those who spoke with us. We gleaned a desire for fairness and equity from almost everyone who spoke with us and for this reason we have proposed the resolutions that have been filed on behalf of our Task Force.

This question of compensation for the PHoD has been presented to General Convention in resolution form many times and each time resolutions that would have implemented a salary/stipend have been approved by the House of Deputies and defeated by the House of Bishops.

Never have we researched this question in such depth, nor have we ever communicated the definition of the duties of this office in depth. Our research has produced what we hope is a comprehensive report, job description and resolutions calling for the establishment of a salary/stipend. Additionally, these documents have inspired other resolutions – one that incorporates some of the recommendations of the report of the task force.

It is important for the 79th General Convention to remember and embrace our long history of collegial agreements that have modeled our Church’s belief of being a just, fair, and honorable body. We have come together around many “thorny” topics. Actions by the 79th General Convention will demonstrate that we are successfully continuing this important tradition.

- Diane Pollard


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