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Decision No. 1086

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October 26 2007
In Re: Review of Bishop’s Decision of Law in the Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference Concerning the Confidentiality of Supervisory Files.

Digest of Case

The decision of law, that the question of law is improper and/or moot and hypothetical because it does not relate to any business or discussion of the Great Rivers Annual Conference Session, is affirmed.

Statement of Facts

During the 2007 session of the Great Rivers Annual Conference, a clergy member of the conference sought a decision of law on the following question:

Are the Supervisory Records, listed in The United Methodist Book of Discipline paragraph 416.4 (“7 (sic). To keep and maintain appropriate supervisory records on all district superintendents and other records on ministerial personnel as determined by the bishop or required by the Discipline or action of the annual conference. When a district superintendent is no longer appointed to the cabinet, the bishop shall give that person’s supervisory file to the superintendent of record. Supervisory records shall be kept under guidelines approved by the General Council on Finance and Administration. The supervisory records maintained by the bishop are not the personnel records of the annual conference.”); and in paragraph 423.4 (“4. To keep and maintain appropriate supervisory records on all ministerial personnel appointed or related to charges within the district. Supervisory records shall be kept under guidelines approved by the General Council on Finance and Administration. At the time of appointment change, supervisory records shall be given to the superintendent of record. The bishop shall be the superintendent of record for the district superintendents.”) confidential from the ministerial personnel about whom the record concerns?
Jurisdiction
The Judicial Council has jurisdiction of ¶ 2609.6 under the 2004 Book of Discipline.
Analysis and Rationale
The Bishop’s ruling was grounded in Decisions 33, 396, 651, 746, 747, 762, 763, and 799. These decisions maintain that a question of law must relate to the business, consideration, or discussion of the conference session. Since the question asked did not relate to business or discussion of the Conference session, it is improper because it is moot and hypothetical.
Decision
The bishop’s decision of law, that the question of law is improper and/or moot and hypothetical because it does not relate to any business or discussion of the Great Rivers Annual Conference Session, is affirmed. October 27, 2007 James W. Holsinger, Jr., Jon R. Gray and Shamwange P. Kyungu were absent. C. Rex Bevins, the first clergy alternate, and Solomon Christian, the first lay alternate, participated in this decision.

Decision

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