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28 of 101 Mo. convention workers accept staff severance provisions

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (BP)–The Missouri Baptist Convention executive board approved plans for funding a staff severance plan and for transferring assets to two new MBC agencies during its Dec. 11-12 meeting at the Baptist Building in Jefferson City. In all, 28 MBC employees accepted the severance package at a total cost of nearly $770,000, with individual payouts ranging from two months of salary to 12 months of salary and benefits, depending on tenure.

Several of the 28 — a dozen of whom took retirement — had served the convention for many years, MBC executive director Jim Hill noted. They represented 417 years of service to Missouri Baptists.

While transitions caused by the New Directions reorganization were the basis for the offer, the executive board made the plan available to all 101 executive board employees.

According to the plan proposed by Hill and approved without dissent by the executive board, the severance will be funded over the next year from the following sources: funds from the 2000 budget, $57,000; 2000 budget year-end underspend, $30,000; anticipated 2001 underspend from staff vacancies, $66,500; severance paid for positions that will not be refilled, at least for the time being, $168,300; unspent 2001 funds from those nine unfilled positions, $100,300; staff budget savings related to the severance transition, $80,000; and the undesignated portion of growth from the strategic initiatives fund, $70,000.

The final source will be up to $200,000 from the principle of the strategic initiatives fund. The fund represents credits that have been provided by the Annuity Board in recent years. Those payments began after it was determined that state conventions overpaid the Annuity Board’s protection plan.

They have been invested, and Hill reported the fund has grown to $1.7 million. Annual Annuity Board repayments — with this year’s estimated at nearly $300,000 — are guaranteed for the next three years.

The board also took action to remove the nine positions that won’t be filled from the executive board staff’s job inventory.

Transfer of assets to Windermere Baptist Conference Center and the Word & Way newsjournal, two agencies created by action of messengers to the 1999 MBC annual meeting, placed both in a position to start the new year apart from the executive board. Trustee boards were elected for the agencies during the MBC annual meeting Oct. 30-Nov. 1, making them the eighth and ninth agencies of the state convention.

The board transferred $5,843,115 in assets to the state convention’s Lake of the Ozarks conference center. Of that total, land, buildings and equipment at Windermere represent more than $5 million.

The remaining $813,664 included cash from Windermere’s operation, investments, unspent designated gifts and inventory from the Windermere gift shop.

The executive board transferred $233,963 to Word & Way, including more than $75,000 in two postal reserve funds, a $2,214 endowment fund, an estimated year-end cash balance of $61,785 and more than $94,000 worth of office furnishings and equipment.

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  • Bill Webb