Thursday, August 03, 2006

Insight into the interaction of the Presidency, CCM, and BOD

The following is a lucid description found on the blog LCMS ISSUES of just one example of how an issue played out in the "power" struggle between the President,CCM, and the BOD. You can decide whose is using organizational power and position to manipulate outcomes of events.

Since the 2004 convention, all authority and power in the LC-MS, for all intents and purposes, has been consolidated in the Office of the President. The Board of Directors (BoD) has become a decision-making board in name only, but in actual fact it no longer even has the authority to name appointees to fill its own vacant positions, or those of other boards.

While technically the BoD has the authority to make these appointments, if they don’t choose an appointee approved by the President, the appointment is invalidated. Here’s how the new “system” works.

[More:]

In May, 2005, Ted Kober resigned from the BoD, for personal reasons, leaving a vacant position. The process was begun by the BoD to appoint a replacement. The nominations committee was asked to provide a list of candidates. Any candidate for the position had to have been nominated for the position for consideration at the 2004 convention, for those nominees have already been vetted and remain eligible to fill vacancies until the 2007 convention.

One of those nominees was Mr. Walter Brantz., a former CEO of Husky Oil, now retired, as well as a rancher and businessman. As such, he has had high-level business experience and financial savvy that would have made him an excellent BoD member.

However, when the nominations committee made their recommendation, there were only three names on the list, and Mr. Brantz was not one of them. In fact, all three people whose names were submitted are avid supporters of President Kieschnick.

At the BoD meeting in August 2005, we were presented with an analysis done by Pastor Jim Fandrey, a member of the BoD, who had consulted a certified parliamentarian, and it was determined that the BoD (just like the Synod in convention, Districts in Convention, and congregations), is permitted, under Robert’s Rules of Order and the Constitution of the LC-MS, Inc., to accept nominations from the floor in making appointments.

During the course of the discussion, the names of Mr. Walter Brantz, and one other candidate, were brought from the floor. The vote was then conducted, and Mr. Brantz was appointed to the vacant position on the BoD. Mr. Peter Cage was also nominated from the floor for a vacancy on the Concordia Publishing House Board of Directors, and was elected to that position. Both men were notified of their appointment, and both agreed to serve. The meeting was adjourned.

Within days, the matter was taken to the Commission on Constitutional Matters (CCM), who put it on their agenda for their October meeting.

From the CCM minutes of October 16-18, 2005, where an opinion was rendered on this question, first we see these interesting paragraphs, under sections 70 and 71:

Chairman Albert Marcis called the meeting to order with all members of the Commission present and opened with an invocation and prayer. Synod President Gerald Kieschnick was also present for the Sunday evening session of the meeting held in the hotel….

The Commission moved into executive session for the Sunday evening session to receive input from the President of Synod regarding the request for opinions he had submitted and regarding questions before the commission that had been forwarded to the Board of Directors for its input. The Commission moved out of executive session at the end of the discussion.

For those unfamiliar with parliamentary procedure, an executive session is one that remains confidential and no minutes are ever released to the public regarding what was discussed. No voting may take place during executive session, but issues that will be voted on in public session can be discussed without limitation in these executive sessions. In this case, it is highly significant to note that the President of Synod, unbeknownst to the other members of the BoD, attended the executive session the CCM to discuss questions that affected the BoD without any other BoD member being present.

From the same meeting minutes, in Section 86, this binding opinion was later rendered by the CCM:

The first Whereas paragraph of Resolution 7-14 (2004) makes it very clear that the Board of Directors is required to fill the vacancies of boards and commissions elected by the Synod from a list provided by the nominations committee. Bylaw 3.2.5 does not make provision for nominations from the floor.

The Commission on Constitutional matters through this opinion has informed the Synod (including the Board of Directors) that the aforementioned appointments are null and void…

That’s the “binding opinion” in a nutshell. (see minutes for complete opinion)

This may seem at first glance as if the “historic checks and balances” the supporters of President Kieschnick cite so often is working. However, let’s identify exactly who sits on each of these boards, commissions and committees.

The Board of Directors is composed of men and women who are elected by the Synod in convention. They are authorized to manage all the business and legal affairs of the Synod when the convention is not in session.

The Commission of Constitutional Matters is composed of men who have been appointed directly by the President of Synod. The Synod in convention has no say in who sits on this commission.

The Nominations Committee is composed of men who were also directly appointed by the President of Synod. The Synod in Convention also has no say in who sits on this committee.

Something smells very rotten here!

The complaint from the supporters of President Kieschnick is that the BoD is “power-hungry”. Yet we see here just the opposite. The BoD is merely attempting to exercise the authority to manage the business and legal affairs of the Synod, which authority it has been given by the Synod in Convention, yet it is thwarted from doing so by the nominations committee and the CCM, all the members of which are directly appointed by the President. Not only that, but the President attends the executive sessions of the CCM before it votes on the issues!

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