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Decision No. 582

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October 22 1987
In Re: A Review of a Ruling by Bishop David J. Lawson in the Wisconsin Conference on Judicial Council Decisions No. 400 and 521 Regarding the Budgeting Process of an Annual Conference.

Statement of Facts

At the 1987 Wisconsin Annual Conference, Bishop David J. Lawson was asked to rule on the following question: "Whether or not it is appropriate for theConference Council on Finance and Administration to recommend to the Annual Conference Session a conference budget with a lump sum reduction in the Conference Council on Ministries budget to be acted on by CCOM in light of the Judicial Council Decision No. 400 and Judicial Council Memorandum No. 521." Relying on the provisions of 710 of the 1984 Discipline, the Bishop found the action of the Conference Council on Finance and Administration to be proper. 710 describes the procedures for presenting the World Service and Conference Benevolences budget to an Annual Conference. 710.3(a) requires the CCFA, in preparing the Conference benevolences budget, to work "together with the conference Council on Ministries as provided in 710.3(b)." After receiving the recommendations of the Conference Council on Ministries, "the council shall also recommend the amount or the percentage of the total of the conference benevolences budget which shall be allocated to each cause included in the said budget." Here the Council on Finance and Administration presented to the Annual Conference a budget with a block reduction of $100,000 in the CCOM. It was the position of the presiding Bishop the Discipline requires only that the budget finally presented by CCFA for final vote contain specific budget recommendations. Under his interpretation of the Discipline, the budget presented at the opening session of the Conference is only a trial budget and need not contain specific recommendation. Thus, since the CCOM and the CCFA did consult during the budget process and since agreement was finally reached during the budgetary process of the Annual Conference session, the Disciplinary provisions were satisfied. In the words of the bishop: 3. . . . While agreement between the two councils was finally reached during the process of the Annual Conference Session, it is my ruling that the discussion, negotiation, and conference debate are a part of the budgeting process which contribute to the formation of the Council on Finance and Administration budget recommendation. Thus, this provision has been satisfied. 4. 710.3(a) and 710.3(b)(1) require that the budget recommended by the Council on Finance and Administration to the Annual Conference contains specific budgets amounts or percentages for each Council on Ministry agency. The recommended budget considered by the Annual Conference for deliberation and vote during the final session of the 1987 Annual Conference did contain such specified amounts which were arrived at through continuous consultation between the two councils. The ruling of the presiding Bishop is contrary to both the letter and the spirit of the Discipline. It is not appropriate for the CCFA to consult with the CCOM under the provisions of 710.3(b) and then refuse to present a budget with specific recommendations for all conference benevolences to the initial session of the Annual Conference. We hold the provisions of 710.3 require a budget be presented to the opening session of an Annual Conference with conference benevolences fully allocated. 710.3(a); see Judicial Council Decision No. 521.

Decision

A Conference Council on Finance and Administration must present a budget on conference benevolences to the opening session of an Annual Conference in which the amount or percentage of the total of the conference benevolences budget shall be allocated to each cause included in the budget. The ruling of the Bishop is reversed.

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