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Decision No. 1024

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October 28 2005
In Re: Request from the Minnesota Annual Conference for a Declaratory Decision on the Meaning, Application and Effect of ¶ 606.9(b) of the 2004 Discipline with Respect to the Maintenance by Annual Conference Officers of a Supervisory File Not Accessible or Reviewable by the Individual in Whose Name the File is Kept.

Digest of Case

Paragraph 606.9(b) of the 2004 Discipline provides for the maintenance of personnel records by the annual conference. Individuals in whose name a personnel record authorized by ¶606.9(b) is maintained shall have to access the information contained in the record or file. Paragraph 606.9(b) makes no reference to supervisory records.

Statement of Facts

The June 2, 2005 session of the Minnesota Annual Conference adopted a request for a declaratory decision as follows:

Does ¶606.9(b) of the 2004 Book of Discipline allow annual conference officers to maintain a supervisory file (according to GCFA guidelines) that is not accessible or reviewable by the individual in whose name the file is kept when the information contained in the supervisory file is referred to in the personnel file and includes implications that the clergy person has behaved unfavorably?
Jurisdiction
The Judicial Council has jurisdiction pursuant to ¶ 2610 of the 2004 Discipline.
Analysis and Rationale
Paragraph 606.9 mandates that all personnel records of candidates and ordained and diaconal ministry personnel are to be kept on behalf of the annual conference in conformity with the principles set forth in ¶606.9(a) (b) and (c) and with guidelines approved by the General Council on Finance and Administration in consultation with the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry and the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits. The annual conference is the owner of its personnel records and files. Individuals in whose name the record is kept have the right of access to the information contained in the file. See Decision 765. The right of access provision does not apply to surrendered credentials and information for which a right of access waiver has been signed. The Discipline differentiates between personnel records and supervisory records. The request for declaratory judgment focuses on ¶606.9(b). Said paragraph contains an explicit access provision for individuals in whose name the file is kept. By contrast, supervisory records on ministerial personnel are authorized by ¶423.4. Declaratory relief has not been requested under ¶423.4.
Decision
Paragraph 606.9(b) of the 2004 Discipline provides for the maintenance of personnel records by the annual conference. Individuals in whose name a personnel record authorized by ¶606.9(b) is maintained shall have access to the information contained in the record or file. Paragraph 606.9(b) makes no reference to supervisory records. October 29, 2005 Shamwange P. Kyungu was absent.

Decision

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