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Decision No. 559

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October 24 1985
In Re: Validity of a Conference Rule Concerning Beginning Date of Service for Quadrennial Agencies and Officers as Relates to Discipline Par. 819.2.

Digest of Case

An annual conference may provide for a term of office of quadrennial board, council, commission or committee to begin with the organization of that agency before January first following the annual conference session following a general conference. The members shall continue in office until their successors are elected. They may continue to serve on program implementing task groups through the program year in which their term of office ends.

Statement of Facts

The South Carolina Annual Conference in June 1985 requested a declaratory decision regarding the legality of the provision of its Standing Rules which reads as follows: The term of office of all quadrennial boards, councils, commissions and committees shall begin with the organization of that board, council, commission, or committee and continue until their successors are elected and organized. Board, council, commission and committee members may continue to serve on program implementing task groups through the program year in which their term of office ends. The Standing Rules further provide that these agencies be convened, for organization, within sixty days upon the close of the Annual Conference. The issue is how this relates to Discipline Par. 819.2. JURISDICTION The Judicial Council has Jurisdiction under Discipline Par. 2615 ANALYSIS Discipline Par. 819 reads: Church Year and Quadrennium.-1. The program and fiscal year for The United Methodist Church shall be the calendar year. 2. Unless otherwise specified in the Discipline for a specific purpose, the term "quadrennium" shall be deemed to be the four-year period beginning January 1 following the adjournment of the regular session of the General Conference. The conference standing rule in question establishes a mode of election and term of office for agencies which are needed to carry out the tasks assigned to conferences. Discipline Par. 704.3 says: Members for all standing committees, boards, and commissions of the Annual Conference shall be selected in such manner as the Annual Conference may determine or as the Discipline may specifically require. ..... Members shall hold office until their successors are elected..... The Par. 819 definition of quadrennium does not provide prohibition which would invalidate the conference's standing rule.

Decision

An annual conference may provide for a term of office of a quadrennial board, council, commission or committee to begin with the organization of that agency before January first following the annual conference session following a general conference. The members may continue to serve on program implementing task groups through the program year in which their term of office ends.

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