The staffing plan will respond to the calling of the Great Plains United Methodist Conference (GPUMC) to equip and connect local churches. Every position will be evaluated on the basis of how it responds to this calling. As much as is practical, staff structure will correspond to the structure of the conference. The “Great Plains Conference Plan of Organization” proposes five areas for the Connecting Council with the vision of Great Churches. Great Disciples. Great Leaders. Transformed World. The five areas for organization are Episcopal Office, Clergy Excellence, Congregational Excellence, Mercy and Justice and Administrative Services. The plan as outlined here will be phased in over the next two years as approved budgets permit.
The plan also assumes the following:
1. We will keep staff in the 3 current conference buildings at least until July 1, 2015.
2. We will consolidate key functions into teams working in the same building as is practical. Conversations with current staff members are ongoing about how, when and how much we move toward this plan.
3. The location of various functions may shift again in 2016 after the location of the bishop’s office has been decided.
4. All conference staff will report directly or indirectly to the bishop.
5. The staffing structure will facilitate compliance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).
6. We will maintain an awareness of and commitment to principles of diversity and inclusiveness.
7. We will increase our web-based training and production process.
8. We will continue to enhance our database integration.
9. We will prioritize staffing to strengthen local churches of all sizes
Table 1: Comparison of current staffing versus proposed GPUMC staffing
In addition to the reduction noted above, the three conferences over the last two years have reduced six other staff positions in anticipation of the creation of the Great Plains Conference.
[Note: In the following plan, all positions are full-time unless otherwise noted.]
The episcopal leader of the conference, who casts the vision, deploys leaders and supervises the administration of the GPUMC. ?
Administrative Assistant – manages the Bishop’s schedule and correspondence as assigned ?
Focuses on the missional priority of clergy leadership development including the credentialing and development of clergy leaders, especially great local church pastors. Assists the Bishop as assigned, including representation on boards when he/she cannot be present; handles correspondence; works with senior staff; serves as Lincoln staff leader; coordinates Annual Conference, Orders and Fellowship Meeting (OFM) and other major meetings with planning committees; facilitates the Connecting Council.
(Kansas Archivist is an employee of Baker University and the GPUMC will continue a contract with Baker University for this service.)
Director of Communications (Lincoln) – this position is a member of the extended cabinet, leader of the communications/marketing function of the GPUMC and works out of the Lincoln office. Oversees all communications/marketing activities for the conference including strategic direction, Internet and social media, public relations, advertising, promotion, news and information, video production and meeting support. Also provides support for ministry programs, fund development, training for local churches and other services directed at equipping local churches for ministry. Particular attention is paid to support lay and clergy leadership.
In consultation with the bishop and other leaders, the director will design and implement efforts to help local churches become more vital. All staff in this department will be held accountable to the mission of the annual conference to equip and connect local churches to be more effective and fruitful in making disciples of Jesus Christ and transforming the world. The director will supervise directly or indirectly the following:
Hispanic Evangelist (part-time based in Dodge City) – supports developing Hispanic faith communities and
congregations and is engaged in the development of spiritual leaders in the Hispanic/Latino community.
Micah Corps Director – part-time, contracted seasonally, to continue and expand the ministry of the Micah Corps,
which sends student interns to work in local settings to connect congregations with social justice issues facing our
Relates to all administrative boards and committees of the GPUMC and work requirements of The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church-2012, (¶619).
The Extended Cabinet is chaired by the Bishop and fulfills the functions outlined in ¶425.6.
a. to align senior conference staff (including district superintendents) with the conference’s vision and strategy so that
all know how to make our contributions
b. to refine and amplify the conference’s vision and strategy
a. District Superintendents (17)
b. Lay Leader and 3 Associate Lay Leaders (4)
c. Directors (Clergy Excellence/Assistant to the Bishop, Congregational Excellence, Administrative Services/Treasurer,
These personnel policies are adopted by the Uniting Conference of the Great Plains United Methodist Conference (GPUMC) and will be effective January 1, 2014. Revisions to the policies after January 1, 2014, shall be proposed by the Personnel Committee and approved by the Connecting Council.
Good communications and feedback within any organization are important. Beyond the day-to-day interaction among Great Plains United Methodist Conference (GPUMC) staff, the GPUMC encourages an “open door” atmosphere between every supervisory person and those under one’s supervision. This means that an employee of the GPUMC should feel free to discuss with his or her immediate supervisor, any personal employment situation, suggest, additions or amendments to current policies and procedures; bringing new innovative ideas related to the work, providing a cost savings that the GPUMC might take, or anything that might help the GPUMC better achieve its purposes and meet its responsibilities to the Annual Conference and all its many connectional parts. Many of these items will come up in staff meetings or in the normal course of daily GPUMC activities. However, there may be occasions or subjects that an employee may wish to discuss with his or her immediate supervisor, one-on-one. The employee needs only request and schedule a mutually convenient time to meet.
All employees of the GPUMC are employed at their own will and at the will of the GPUMC, and are subject to termination at any time, for any reason, and with or without cause or notice. Similarly, employees may terminate their employment with the GPUMC at any time, for any reason, and with or without cause or notice. The employee specifically states and understands that the policies set forth in this Handbook do not limit this policy in any way or constitute a contract.
The GPUMC maintains a strong policy of equal employment opportunity. We ensure equal opportunity for all employees and applicants for employment, subject to our rights as a religious organization. Our equal employment opportunity philosophy applies to all aspects of employment with the GPUMC including recruiting, hiring, training, transfer, promotion, job benefits, pay, dismissal, educational assistance, and social and recreational activities.
Applicants and employees will be evaluated solely based on their conduct, their compliance with the GPUMC policies and legitimate expectations, and their performance.
We also believe in the principles of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). That Act prohibits employers from unlawfully discriminating against employees or job applicants with disabilities when making employment decisions. We will provide reasonable accommodation to otherwise qualified disabled employees or applicants. We cannot promise to make any and all accommodations. We must consider each accommodation on a case-by-case basis to determine whether it would cause an undue hardship to the GPUMC.
It is the policy of the Conference to perform pre-employment background checks. The purpose of performing these checks is to determine and/or confirm, within appropriate legal and professional limits, the qualifications and suitability of a candidate for a particular position for which the candidate is being considered. The candidate will be required to sign appropriate authorizations and consents prior to performing the background check. In addition to performing background checks on all candidates for employment, background checks may be performed when an employee changes positions within the GPUMC for any additional required background checks for that position that was not done previously.
The components of each candidate’s background check will depend on the position. Depending on the particular position, the GPUMC performs any or all of the following background checks:
The GPUMC complies with the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and similar state FCRA laws in the jurisdictions in which the GPUMC does business, federal and state Equal Opportunity laws, and all other applicable legal authority that affects the performing of per-employment background checks.
The results of the pre-employment background check are confidential and are not shared with staff members of the Conference except on a strict “Need to Know” basis.
It is not the purpose of this policy to provide detailed information or descriptions of each individual pre-employment background check that can be performed. It is not the purpose of this policy to provide detailed information of all applicable laws.
This policy does not limit the Conference’s right to hire, discipline or terminate. This policy does not create a contract of employment. All employment is at will unless contract or law applies to the contrary.
Safety is everyone’s responsibility and the GPUMC expects its employees to conduct themselves in a safe manner. The use of good judgment and common sense in matters of safety while following reasonable safeguards will help ensure safe working conditions and support the safe and efficient development of all work activities.
Worker’s Compensation Insurance is provided to cover on-the-job injuries or illnesses, which result in lost time and/or medical treatment. The GPUMC pays the full cost of Worker’s Compensation Insurance coverage. Any injury occurring while on the job, or any job-related illness must be promptly reported to the employee’s supervisor.
The GPUMC is committed to providing an environment that encourages the use of computers and electronic communications as essential tools to support the Conference's ministry of administration. In utilizing the GPUMC 's computers and electronic communications systems including, but not limited to, electronic mail and access to the Internet, it is important for all employees (“Users”) to be aware of the GPUMC 's policy regarding responsible use. It is the responsibility of each User to ensure that this technology is used for proper business purposes and in a manner, that:
The purpose of this policy is to ensure the appropriate use of computer resources, to monitor and maintain productivity of employees, to assist in preventing harm to the interests of the GPUMC and its employees, and to prevent the violation of various state and federal laws. The GPUMC adheres to all licensing and authorization agreements in its use of software.
The GPUMC does not:
Users do not have a personal privacy right in any matter created, received, sent, or stored on the GPUMC’s computer resources, whether or not the matter is designated as private or confidential. The GPUMC reserves the right to access all computer resources for the purpose of supporting its mission and ministry, assuring compliance with statutory requirements, as well as internal policies supporting the performance of internal investigations, and assisting with the management of the GPUMC 's information systems.
All aspects of the GPUMC 's computer, technology and communications systems, including but not limited to hardware, software, and all files and message contents are the property of the GPUMC. The computer, technology and communications systems, including e-mail and Internet access, are business tools provided by the GPUMC, which should be used for business purposes only.
The GPUMC reserves the right to monitor and review e-mail messages and Internet access without prior notice. This includes the right to monitor Internet sites visited, duration of employee's Internet use and files viewed, accessed or downloaded. E-mail messages and Internet access are not private, and employees should not consider their e- mail messages and Internet access to be private. An employee's access code or password does not give him or her any right to privacy with respect to using the agency's e-mail and Internet systems.
Any violation of this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment. An employee who discovers a violation of this policy is expected to report it to the Director of Administrative Services or the Chairperson of the Conference Personnel Committee.
Internet Access (General)
The GPUMC provides the ability to access the Internet through an Internet browser. GPUMC employees designated to have access to the Internet are required to use their access to the Internet in a legal, responsible and informed way, conforming to network etiquette, customs and courtesies. Internet e-mail access/usage is subject to the GPUMC 's policies and guidelines related to email. GPUMC management will determine:
The Internet is not a secure communication channel and should not be used for sending or receiving confidential or sensitive information.
Use of the Internet is a privilege, not a right, which may be revoked at any time for inappropriate conduct. Misuse of Internet access by any employee may result in other disciplinary action, including but not limited to, termination of employment.
Examples of inappropriate conduct include, but are not limited to: use of inappropriate or offensive or abusive language in either public or private messages; unlawful activities; gambling; defamation; infringement of copyrights; misrepresentation of oneself or the GPUMC; logging onto or accessing obscene, pornographic, sexually explicit, racist or violent sites; pirating software or transmitting software programs or other copyrighted or trademarked material; engaging in transactions or activity for personal financial gain; jeopardizing the GPUMC 's tax exempt status; creating unauthorized contractual liability for the GPUMC; violating any GPUMC policy or procedure; engaging in any activity or communication that is inconsistent with norms of professional and business conduct; and sending messages that might result in congestion or disruption of networks and systems.
Employees must abide by security policies, procedures and guidelines in their use of the Internet, and are to refrain from practices, which might jeopardize the GPUMC 's computers, data, network, systems security or work in general. Employees must guard against computer viruses and security breaches of any kind. Employees who use the Internet:
The Internet is not "free." Valuable and scarce resources are used to establish, operate and maintain the GPUMC 's access to the Internet including the valuable use of staff time needed to make inquiries, send and receive e-mail, and participate in discussion groups on the Internet. All employees are expected to be good stewards in the use of these valuable resources. Personal use may be allowed in consultation with a supervisor. Personal use should not occur during working hours.
Electronic Discussion Groups, Telnet and FTP
Staff members who participate in electronic discussion groups (listservs, Usenet news groups, etc.) must abide by the rules and etiquette of those groups. When using Telnet or FTP (File Transfer Protocol) to access remote computer systems, users must remember they are guests on another organization's machine.
All policies (i.e., use, security, conduct and disciplinary action) outlined for users of e-mail and Internet also apply to Electronic Discussion Groups, etc.
Electronic mail (e-mail) has been established for purposes related to the mission of the GPUMC. The GPUMC offers the use of e-mail by its employees as an opportunity to enhance their ability to carry out their job responsibilities. Electronic communications, including internal and Internet e-mail, other forms of electronic media and all of their component parts, such as hardware, software, messages and other data ("e-mail"), are the property of the GPUMC. Such personal use does not make the communication private, and the employee should have no expectation of privacy for such use. It may be used for personal purposes only in accordance with GPUMC guidelines and may never be used in any way that may be disruptive or offensive to others. E-mail may not be used to solicit participation in any activity not directly related to or sponsored by the GPUMC (i.e., personal, religious, political or charitable causes).
E-mail is to be used as a tool. E-mail should be drafted with the same thought and concern devoted to written or verbal communications, such as letters and memoranda. The e- mail system should not be used to create any offensive or disruptive messages. Users must identify themselves with their full e-mail address or legal name. The GPUMC neither assumes nor shares responsibility for incidents of harassment, slander, malice, or defamation of character, copyright violations, or any civil or criminal actions that occur or are alleged to have occurred through any personal or inappropriate use of e-mail. The responsibility for and defense against such actions or claims is solely that of the individual.
E-mail is not a private, confidential communication. The confidentiality of any message should not be assumed. Messages should be treated as confidential by other employees and accessed only by the intended recipient. Employees are not authorized to retrieve nor read any e- mail messages that are not sent to them. Any exception to this policy must receive prior approval from the employee's supervisor.
In the use of e-mail, employees should not use pass codes, access a file, nor retrieve any stored information unless authorized to do so. All computer pass codes must be provided to supervisors and the Director of Administrative Services. No passcode may be used that is unknown to the GPUMC.
The GPUMC reserves the right to access and disclose all messages, for any purpose, at any time for legitimate GPUMC reasons without the permission of the employee.
Prospective employees shall not be interviewed or hired by an immediate relative currently employed by the GPUMC, nor shall an immediate relative who is also employed by the GPUMC supervise an employee. Related employees shall not serve in positions where they may directly or indirectly influence decisions related to each other. Their respective positions shall not involve related financial transactions. The GPUMC Personnel Committee must authorize any exceptions to this policy prior to employment.
A relative is defined as follows: Husband/wife, son/daughter, father/mother, brother/sister, grandson/granddaughter, and grandfather/grandmother, father-in-law/mother-in-law, son-in-law/daughter-in-law, brother-in-law/sister-in-law, aunt/uncle, niece/nephew with adopted, step or half relationships treated as full relationships.
When employment is accepted with the GPUMC, the first responsibility is to the GPUMC and efficiently performing assigned duties. The GPUMC depends on employees to devote their full attention and effort to the duties to which they have been assigned. The GPUMC does not object to employees’ accepting outside work, as long as it does not:
Outside employment is not considered an excuse for poor attendance, absenteeism, tardiness, or refusal to work overtime if required. Employees are expected to discuss any outside employment with their supervisors. Non-job-related, voluntary activities shall be done on the employee's own time.
A. Sexual Ethics Policy for Staff and Volunteers of the Great Plains United Methodist Conference
Statement of Policy
Staff members and volunteers of the Conference shall not engage in sexual abuse or sexual harassment.
God creates all people. God intends all people to have worth and dignity in their relationships. We are one connected body, and when one part of the body is injured physically, emotionally or spiritually, the entire body is rendered less than intended by God. Misconduct of a sexual nature of any kind violates a person’s wholeness and is an unjust use of status and power and a sinful behavior against God and one another.
The Scripture witnesses to a God who brings justice, mercy and grace. The Church is called to express God’s love in concrete actions of compassion and healing for all God’s people.
Sexual Abuse: Sexual abuse means unwanted physical conduct of a sexual nature, sexual contact or sexualized behavior and may include, by example, touching, fondling, other physical contact and sexual relations.
Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment is any unwanted sexual advance or demand, either verbal or physical that is reasonably perceived by the recipient as demanding, intimidating or coercive. Sexual harassment must be understood as an exploitation of a power relationship rather than as an exclusively sexual issue. Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, the creation of a hostile or abusive working environment resulting from discrimination based on gender.
Staff members and volunteers of the GPUMC shall be provided a copy of this policy and shall receive training information to assist in the understanding and implementation of this policy.
Making a Complaint
People who have knowledge of a possible violation of this policy by staff members or volunteer may report the same to a clergy person, any District Superintendent or the Bishop. Upon any complaint, the GPUMC will investigate, consider any response, and take action to seek justice.
B. Workplace Harassment
The GPUMC is committed to providing a work environment that ensures that every employee is treated with dignity and respect and afforded equitable treatment.
The GPUMC is committed to promoting a work environment that is conductive to the professional growth of its employees, provides a professional atmosphere and promotes equality of opportunity. The GPUMC is committed to taking all necessary steps to ensure that employees are not subject to harassment and will not tolerate any form of harassment.
The law guarantees employees the right to employment in a workplace free from illegal harassment. Harassment is any physical or verbal abuse of a person because of race, religion, age, gender, disability or any other legally protected status. Harassment in the workplace can further be clarified as any conduct that creates significant anguish to another person, with the intent to bother, scare or emotionally abuse.
There are other federal and state harassment laws that further outline what does and does not constitute harassment for various situations.
1. Informal Resolution Options
When an incident of harassment occurs, communicate your disapproval and objections immediately to the harasser and request the harasser to stop.
If the harasser does not stop or you are not comfortable with addressing the harasser directly, notify your supervisor of the harassment, and the nature of the harassment. The GPUMC will provide advice and support as requested to undertake any investigation necessary to resolve the matter.
Any staff member of the GPUMC with a harassment concern not satisfied with the informal resolution options or who has exhausted all the options may bring a formal written complaint to any supervisor or to the Assistant to the Bishop. All such complaints will be promptly investigated.
If after an investigation it is determined that an allegation of harassment is valid, appropriate action will be taken.
Corrective action may include any of the following:
a. Formal apology;
c. Written warning in the employee’s personnel file;
d. Change of work assignment;
e. Suspension or discharge of employee
The GPUMC understands that it is difficult to come forward with a complaint of harassment and recognizes the complainant’s interest in keeping the matter confidential.
All records of complaints, including contents of meetings, interviews, results of investigations and other relevant material will be kept as confidential as possible by the GPUMC except where disclosure is required (civil lawsuits or human rights case).
The GPUMC is committed to ensuring that no staff member who brings forward a harassment concern is subject to any form of retaliation. Any act of retaliation will be viewed as a disciplinable matter.
To ensure the health and safety of the employees and the workplace, the GPUMC expects employees to report to work able to perform their job free from the effects of alcohol, illegal drugs, or the abuse of controlled substance, which can impair job performance. Controlled substances includes prescribed drugs not being used for prescribed purposes or in a prescribed manner.
The GPUMC forbids the possession, sale or consumption of alcohol or illegal drugs on GPUMC property.
The GPUMC recognizes alcohol, drug, and substance abuse and dependency as an illness and major health problem. The GPUMC provides an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through the GPUMC health insurance for employees to deal with substance abuse and other personal problems that can affect work performance.
Our commitment is to help employees remain productive members of our team. Employees needing assistance to access EAP benefits or information regarding counseling or substance abuse programs should contact the GPUMC Senior Benefits Officer. Conscientious efforts to seek help will not jeopardize any employee’s job or be noted in any personnel record.
Violations of this policy will result in disciplinary actions, up to and including termination.
It is not only fair play, but also good business to observe the rules of any game, and the same is true of the necessary rules of the GPUMC. Employees are expected to behave in a mature, responsible and professional manner with their best efforts made on behalf of the GPUMC. Employees are hired to serve the church, the conference, and the denomination. All employees need to be kind, sympathetic, and empathetic to all people who contact the office.
Employees are expected to perform their duties with care and attention to the members' needs as well as the GPUMC 's quality standards and requirements. Employees' acts, even if unintentional, which fail to reflect these standards constitute workplace misconduct. Violations of work rules, instances of unacceptable behavior or misconduct, poor performance, or the failure to meet all quality and production standards will subject employees to discipline. The decision as to whether conduct warrants discipline, and if so, the nature of the discipline up to and including termination is solely with the GPUMC. This applies whether the conduct is a first offense or not.
Not all types of misconduct and responses can be enumerated. The ultimate determination as to what constitutes a violation of work rules, workplace misconduct or unacceptable behavior and what discipline will be used will be determined on a case-by-case basis, and rests in the discretion of the GPUMC.
The following, while not to be considered exclusive, are strictly prohibited on GPUMC property: alcoholic beverages, weapons, explosives, illegal or dangerous drugs and gambling.
This policy in no way alters the at-will relationship between the employee and the GPUMC. Statements or actions of the GPUMC that it will be fair or that it has a reason for its actions or the implementation of discipline shall not be construed as altering the at-will relationship of the employee and the GPUMC. Employees and the GPUMC mutually understand that a Court shall not construe any statements or actions (except as stated in writing and signed by both the employee and the GPUMC) as altering the at-will relationship.
A. Ethics Statement - General Principles
B. Standards of Conduct
a. Conflicts of interest shall mean, with respect to employees of the Conference: any situation in which the employee by virtue of a financial interest or of some other personal interest, present or potential, directly or remotely, may be influenced or appear to be influenced in decision making or business dealing by any motive or desire for personal advantage other than the success and well-being of the Church or of the Conference.
b. All present and potential conflicts of interest must be disclosed: a) if known, in advance of any meeting, business transaction or other activity at which the issue may be discussed or on which the issue may have a bearing on the employee’s approach to the issue, whether directly or indirectly; or b) if not known in advance, when the actual, potential conflict becomes apparent. Disclosure must be made to the person in charge of the meeting or activity and to the full meeting, or to the employee’s supervisor, as appropriate. The employee should recuse him/herself from the room to avoid all discussion, voting and deliberation on the issue. All such actions should be recorded in any minutes or records kept. Following full disclosure of the present or potential conflict, the board or equivalent may decide that no conflict of interest exists and invite the participation of the employee. When in doubt, the employee should assume there might be a conflict.
c. All employees should likewise disclose matters and relationships, which have the potential for giving rise to the appearance of a conflict in business dealings with the Conference. Examples include, among others, financial and/or leadership roles with vendors and other organizations doing business with the Conference.
d. Business dealings with friends and family will not be engaged in because of the potential for inferences of tangible or intangible personal advantage and the resultant appearance of impropriety.
e. To avoid appearances of impropriety, employees will not accept any gifts, gratuities and hospitality such as free travel, hotel or residential rooms and meals from any people or organizations that sells, delivers or receives any goods, materials, services to or from the Conference. All individual gifts will be reported to the appropriate Conference representative (see Section B.2.b). Exempt from this section are gifts that primarily benefit the Conference and not an individual, such as gifts of hospitality given to the Conference by hotels or other businesses in exchange for Conference business.
f. Employees, in all relationships with the Conference, should place the Church and the Conference ahead of personal advantage, whether the advantage is of a financial nature or whether it arises from a desire for other personal advancement, such as promotion.
3. Confidentiality. Employees shall not disclose information about the Conference’s activities unless the information is already known to the public or becomes a matter of public record. Action and activities taken in closed meeting sessions will be handled in accordance with Discipline ¶721.
4. Duty of care. The obligation of good stewardship is imposed on employees and requires that they act first in the best interests of the Church, and then in the best interests of the Conference, at all times. The duty requires them to:
a. Exercise all reasonable efforts to inform themselves of the mission and ministry of the Conference, of the nature of the fiduciary duty owed to The United Methodist Church and to the Conference, of their duties and responsibilities, and of the issues that come before them, so that they can be effective and efficient employees through their service to The United Methodist Church as represented by the Conference;
b. Act as a reasonably prudent employee would act under the same or similar circumstances;
c. Inform themselves reasonably of matters about which they make decisions;
d. Exercise their independent judgment.
5. Duty to Disclose. Employees have a duty to disclose breaches of fiduciary duty, whether by themselves or by others. Likewise, concerns about the appearance or possibility of breaches should be reported. Care must always be taken not to be accusatory. Breaches may be reported to the employee’s supervisor or Chairperson of the Conference Personnel Committee who is pledged to confidentiality.
6. Nature of Disclosures. All disclosures of the nature described in section B-2 will be made with candor and openness. All responses to inquiries by legal counsel and by external and internal auditors will be full, complete and directly responsive.
The Conference recognizes that employees with life-threatening illnesses including but not limited to cancer, heart disease, and AIDS may not be covered by the short-term and long-term disability benefits. As long as an employee is able to meet acceptable performance standards, and medical evidence indicates that his/her condition is not a threat to self or others, employees with life-threatening illnesses should be treated consistently with other employees. Education, counseling, referrals to agencies, and benefit consultation to assist employees in effectively managing health, leave and other benefits is available through the GPUMC Senior Benefits Officer.
The GPUMC seeks to provide a safe work environment for all employees. Therefore, precautions should be taken to ensure that an employee’s condition does not present a health and/or safety threat to self or to other employees. The immediate supervisor of an employee with a life-threatening illness will be responsible for determining that the employee’s condition does not present such a threat. An employee may be required to provide a medical report from the attending physician for assisting the supervisor in making this determination.
There is no medical basis for employees’ refusing to work with fellow employees or agency clients with life-threatening illnesses. The concerns of employees who fear fellow workers or agency clients with life-threatening illness will be taken seriously and addressed with appropriate information. Where such measures are unsuccessful, and where the administration determines an employee’s refusal or threat of refusal to work with an employee or GPUMC client is impeding and disrupting the GPUMC’s work, the employee’s supervisor will consider appropriate corrective or disciplinary action against the threatening or disruptive employee(s). Such disciplinary action may include transfer and/or dismissal from employment.
The GPUMC will treat all medical information with the confidentiality as required by the law (HIPAA).
Official travel of the staff of the GPUMC shall be interpreted to include all travel that is necessary in the performance of official duties directly related to the conference functions. No staff person shall accept honoraria for such official duties.
The GPUMC will not provide payroll advances or extended credit to staff members.
The Personnel Committee recommends updates to the personnel policies, provides for a favorable work environment and recommends to the Annual Conference budgets for personnel and guidelines for salary setting.
The policies described in the Handbook are decision-making guidelines, which require discretion on the part of the Personnel Committee. No Handbook can anticipate every question or circumstance about every employment issue.
Revisions to the policies shall be proposed by the Personnel Committee and approved by the Connecting Council. This Handbook is not intended to be a contract or enforceable promise of employment of any specific term, condition or duration of employment between the GPUMC and employees, but is solely intended to give employees a general description of the working conditions at the Conference.
The information in this Handbook applies to the lay staff of the GPUMC. Clergy members that are appointed to staff positions of the GPUMC are governed by The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church and the GPUMC Standing Rules.
For purpose of salary administration, overtime and benefits the Conference classifies its employees as follows:
The Conference generally attempts to fill new and vacant positions from within the Conference by promoting qualified employees.
The recruitment process may also include public announcements of vacancies through various news and electronic media, church bulletins, professional organizations, related agencies and groups with special access to qualified women and racial ethnic minority people who may be potential applicants.
The Conference web site and on-line recruitment media will also be used to post vacancies.
Compensation is determined at a monthly rate for salaried personnel or by an amount per hour for hourly personnel.
A. Pay Period: For all employees, the standard pay period is twice monthly, with paydays occurring on the 15th and the last day of the month (30th or 31st). When pay, days falls on a weekend or holiday, paychecks will be distributed on the last working day prior to the weekend or holiday.
B. Work schedule: The workweek is a 40 (forty) hour week with an hour unpaid lunch. The Conference office will be open from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Employees who request and receive approval for alternate schedules may arrive earlier or leave later than these hours.
C. Breaks: Non-exempt hourly employees receive a paid, 15-minute break in the morning and in the afternoon.
D. Wage Garnishment: Garnishment of wages results when an unpaid creditor has taken the matter to court. A garnishment is legal permission for creditors to collect part of an employee’s pay directly from the employer. Although the Conference does not wish to become involved in an employee’s private matters, we are compelled by law to administer the court’s orders.
E. Pay Increases: The personnel committee determines and submits all staff salary budgets.
F. Payroll Advances: The Conference will not provide payroll advances.
G. Time Records: Non-exempt hourly employees are required to complete bi-monthly timesheets. Federal wage and hour regulations require an accurate record of hours worked. Immediate supervisor must approve timesheets.
H. Overtime: Overtime will be paid in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act. All requests for overtime and hours worked other than regular scheduled hours, must be approved in advance by their supervisor. All overtime is to be clearly reported on the timesheet. Approval to use accrued flextime must be approved in advance from the supervisor.
I. Payroll Deductions: Earnings and payroll deductions are shown on a voucher with your check. Deductions required or requested are as follows:
J. Direct Deposit: The Conference provides for automatic deposit of payroll earnings when authorized to do so by the employee. On payday, these employees are given a mock copy of a check with the stub indicating itemized deductions. Direct Deposit is encouraged because the employee does not need to be present on payday to have access to their earnings.
The Conference’s objective in establishing a business casual dress code is to allow the staff to work comfortably in the workplace. Yet, we still need our staff to project a professional image for those we serve.
Because not all casual clothing is suitable for the office, these guidelines will help you determine what is appropriate to wear to work. Clothing that works for yard work, dance clubs, exercise sessions and sport contest may not be appropriate for a professional appearance at work.
Clothing that reveals too much cleavage, your stomach or your underwear is not appropriate for a place of business.
Generally, Fridays are considered as dress down days. On these days, jeans and other more casual clothing, although never clothing potentially offensive to others, are allowed.
No dress code can be all-inclusive; nor can it cover all contingencies so employees must exert a certain amount of judgment in their choice of clothing to wear to work. If you experience uncertainty about acceptable, professional business casual attire for work, please ask your supervisor.
A personnel file will be maintained on each employee in the Conference office under the custody of the Director of Administrative Services. For clergy on staff an additional personnel file will be maintained in that clergy staff person’s District Superintendent’s Office. For District Superintendents and Directors another personnel file will be maintained in the Bishop’s Office. The personnel file will be maintained in such a manner as to protect the privacy of the employee. The Conference maintains those documents, which are, have been, or are intended to be used in determining a staff person’s qualifications for employment, promotion, transfer, additional compensation, discharge or other disciplinary action.
The employee shall have limited access to his/her own file as described below under the supervision of designated Conference personnel. Access is also available to those who have a "need-to-know" (e.g., Conference Personnel Committee, Bishop or Bishop’s delegate).
This information is generally not to be released to a third party. In response to inquiries for references about employee's employment status, only the following information will be disclosed upon request: dates of employment, term and nature of employment. Salary information will be released only with written authorization from the employee.
Generally, personnel files contain primarily such information as listed above. That is, documents which are, have been or are intended to be used in determining that staff person's qualifications for employment, promotion, transfer, additional compensation, discharge or other disciplinary action.
A. Each personnel file usually will include the following items, which are subject to inspection by employee:
B. Documents that may be included in a staff person’s personnel file but are not open to inspection by employee:
All requests for copies of items in a personnel file shall be made in writing to the Director of Administrative Services (or to the DS or Bishop for items in a file held in their office).
Upon consultation, employees who are hired directly from another agency of the Church may retain benefits and service years common to the previous employing agency and the current agency, as agreed to by the Conference Personnel Committee and employee. (Refer to Personnel Policies – 1. Open Door).
VIII. Performance Evaluations
A performance evaluation is intended to provide a periodic means of appraising a staff person's performance on the job.
A newly hired employee shall be evaluated at the end of his/her enhanced review period. If the staff person does not meet performance standards, employment can be terminated at any time during the 90 days or thereafter. Approximately two weeks before the end of this period, the supervisor shall conduct a "Performance Evaluation” covering the staff person's performance during the period. The completed form will be included in the staff person's file.
All other employees will be evaluated utilizing the current "Performance Evaluation Form" by November 30 of each year. These reports will be placed in each employee's personnel file. Staff people will have an opportunity to file a response to their evaluations.
Staff should be granted at least one week of continuing education per year or one month per quadrennium. The employee’s supervisor or the Conference Personnel Committee must approve continuing education plans to ensure that absences do not impede job responsibilities. Time used for continuing education shall not be considered vacation. Continuing education vouchers will be paid only up to the amount budgeted for each staff person. In addition to registration/tuition, any travel, lodging or meals for a continuing education event will be charged to this budget line. Any amounts over the budgeted amount will be the personal responsibility of the staff person.
Staff is encouraged to attend the national and jurisdictional professional meetings that are related to their jobs. A maximum of two professional meetings per year may be attended as a part of regular work duties and not charged against continuing education leave.
All staff shall have at a minimum the following qualifications:
The supervisor is responsible for the maintenance of a record of attendance and absence. In addition to providing a record of hours worked for payroll purposes, such record of attendance will be utilized in monitoring employee performance.
Hourly employees are required to accurately record all hours worked and submit these records to their supervisors who will submit time worked to the payroll department.
A. Voluntary Termination (Resignations)
Should a staff person decide to leave the employ of the Conference, it is requested that at least two weeks written notice will be given. A written letter of resignation should be submitted to the supervisor with a copy to the Chairperson of the Conference Personnel Committee stating the date of the resignation and including any additional comments the staff person may wish to make. This letter will be placed in the staff person's personnel file.
B. Involuntary Termination
Involuntary termination, pursuant to the at-will employment policy, can occur at any time, for any or no reason, with or without notice. Involuntary termination is the result of excessive absences and tardiness or unsatisfactory performance. These infractions are known to have adverse effect on the work output and morale of co-workers. Where involuntary termination is the result of excessive absences, tardiness or unsatisfactory performance, the following steps should be taken, when possible.
The staff person's supervisor will discuss the problem with the staff person. Expectations should be clear and precise.
If the problem persists, the appropriate director will consult with the Chairperson of the GPUMC Personnel Committee and GPUMC Chancellor. After consultation, the director will determine what course of action should be taken, including but not limited to termination.
An employee being considered for involuntary termination – except in the case of reorganization, substantial misconduct, or reasons other than correctible performance issues will be placed on probation and given an opportunity to correct the problem(s). However, the Conference reserves the right to discharge a staff person at any time without a probationary period, or any of the steps set out above.
The Conference reserves the right to terminate the individual’s employment at any time during the probation period if the employee does not demonstrate substantial improvement.
Proper conduct is a necessity to assure an efficient, effective and safe working environment. Misconduct is grounds for immediate dismissal. This may include, but is not limited to theft, physical abuse, and verbal abuse, threatening people with bodily harm, gross insubordination, or criminal conduct.
When a staff person leaves the Conference, that person’s final paycheck will be issued in accordance with the applicable Wage Payment Law.
XV. Complaing/Grievance Resolution
The Conference is committed to providing a working environment conducive to satisfactory work performance and free from discriminatory actions. To this end, the following formal complaint/grievance procedure has been established to assist in the effective resolution of problems arising from the employment relationship or environment. When an employee believes a condition of employment affecting him/her is unjust, inequitable, or a hindrance to effective performance of his/her employment responsibilities, or the employee feels subjected to discriminatory treatment by another employee, the employee should seek resolution through these procedures without fear of coercion, discrimination or reprisal. Specific types and descriptions of discrimination are contained in other sections of this policy manual.
Any employee who has a complaint related to the employment relationship or work environment, or feels victimized by discriminatory conduct, should discuss the complaint with his/her immediate supervisor to attempt to resolve the matter. If the employee’s immediate supervisor is the source of the alleged discrimination, the employee should report the problem to the next higher-level supervisor or to the Chairperson of the Conference Personnel Committee. The supervisor(s) should conduct any necessary or appropriate investigation and inform the employee of a decision based upon full and fair consideration of all the facts within five (5) working days of the initial discussion. The supervisor(s) will assure the decision is clearly communicated to the employee.
If the employee is satisfied with the decision, no additional action is required. If the employee is not satisfied, or if no decision is communicated to the employee within five (5) working days of the initial discussion, the employee may submit a written grievance to the next higher-level supervisor. If the next higher-level supervisor made the initial decision, the written grievance should be submitted to the Chairperson of the Conference Personnel Committee. The next higher-level supervisor, or the Committee Chairperson, will provide an answer to the employee within ten (10) working days of his/her written presentation of the grievance.
If the employee is dissatisfied with the solution provided by the next higher-level supervisor, he/she will have an additional ten (10) working days to appeal his/her grievance to the Chairperson of the Conference Personnel Committee. When the Chairperson receives the Grievance Statement, he/she will determine if the provisions of the Complaint/Grievance Resolution Procedure has been followed. If so, the Chairperson may:
After careful consideration of all facts, but within (30) thirty working days, the Chairperson will render a final decision in writing to the employee. Any decision rendered in a problem situation by the Conference Personnel Committee Chairperson must be regarded as final and binding.
Retaliation for filing a complaint or for properly doing one’s job is never acceptable. If an employee believes that he or she is a victim of retaliation, then that conduct should be reported in the same manner as if the employee was filing a complaint.
The Conference recognizes that a place of employment safe from violence or the fear of violence is fundamental to the health and well-being of staff. The policy of this Conference is that its staff should work in an environment free from physical attack, threats, and menacing or harassing behaviors.
As used in this policy, violence is defined to include, but not limited to, the following:
At any facility of the Great Plains Conference, physical attacks, threats, harassment, and property damage are always prohibited. Any employee who experiences or witnesses such acts, conduct, behavior, or communication must immediately call the police if appropriate, and/or contact his/her supervisor or the Chairperson of the Conference Personnel Committee.
Any supervisor who receives a complaint of violence, threats, harassment, or property damage or who has reason to suspect that these acts or behaviors are occurring, must immediately notify the Director of Administrative Services and the Conference Personnel Committee Chairperson, except for the Treasurer’s Office, which would notify CF&A and Personnel Chairs.
Upon being informed of an allegation of violence, threat, or harassment, the matter will be investigated. Upon conclusion of the investigation, the Conference will determine how to respond. In the interim, the Conference will respond, as it deems appropriate.
Appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination, will be taken in instances of misconduct as judged by the Conference. Employees who know of information about violence, threats, or harassment, but did not notify an appropriate person consistent with this procedure will also be subjected to appropriate discipline, up to and including termination.
Employees will not be retaliated by the Conference for reporting violence, threats, harassment, or property damage.
Possession of firearms, explosives or other dangerous or unauthorized materials, is prohibited in the workplace or while working off Conference property. The prohibition on carrying firearms while working applies even if the employee has a legal permit to carry such a weapon.
Employees who incur frequent expenses for travel and other purposes may be provided a Conference credit card. The policy and procedures established by the Conference Treasurer and the Council on Finance and Administration govern the issue and use of such credit cards.
Employees that have been issued a Conference credit card will receive a copy of the policy and procedures, and a copy can be found in the policy manual in the Benefits Office.
When a conference car is not available, and it is not practical to drive a personal car, the Conference will pay for a rental vehicle and related expenses. A rental vehicle may be used to and from airports while traveling when hotel shuttles are not available and the cost of a cab is prohibitive.
A Conference owned vehicle may be provided for Conference staff people based on the number of miles expected to be driven in the conduct of their job. The policy and procedures established by the Conference Treasurer and the Board of Trustees govern the use of Conference owned vehicles.
Employees will receive a copy of the policy and procedures, and a copy can be found in the policy manual in the Benefits Office. When a conference car is available and an employee drives their personal car instead, mileage will be reimbursed at the same rate per mile paid to people who drive to conference approved meetings.
Disclaimer (Added 10-21-16): In relation to Personnel Benefits, the contents of this Handbook do not represent the actual terms of the benefits listed herein and are provided as merely a cursory overview of the same. Furthermore, this Handbook does not constitute a “plan document,” as that term is defined under ERISA. An employee should not rely on the contents of this handbook in relation to any rights and obligations which are otherwise provided in an applicable pension or welfare benefit plan or another benefit summary.
The Conference recognized the importance of vacation time, which provides employees the opportunity for rest and personal activities. We grant annual paid vacation to eligible employees.
Vacation leave will be based on the number of years of service and will increase for the calendar year in which the employee’s anniversary reaches a new level of benefit (i.e. in the calendar year of the employee’s 6-year anniversary of employment, employee will receive 15 vacation days). Except for new employees, all eligible employees will be credited with their annual vacation on January 1.
New employees: Vacation time will be prorated the first year of employment from the hire date through December. Subsequent vacation time is allotted on January 1 of each year and is earned throughout the year. During the 90-day introductory period, a new employee cannot take vacation time, but the supervisor may grant time away from work without pay. New employees hired after October 1 of any year will not receive a pay raise on January 1 of the subsequent year.
Accrual: Employees can only accumulate or bank a maximum of 1½ times the total amount of vacation time they can earn. When employees reach their maximum number of vacation time, they do not accrue more vacation until the accumulated amount drops below the maximum amount they can accumulate. Accrual calculations only occur on January 1 each year; therefore, if an employee has reached his or her maximum accrual rate and has not taken any taken any additional vacation by January 1, he or she would have to wait until the following year to receive additional vacation time. For example, if an employee with the conference for three years has accumulated fifteen (15) vacation days on January 1, 2016, and has not taken any vacation time, he or she would not earn additional vacation time until January 1, 2017, once his or her accrued vacation time dropped below the 15-vacation day maximum. Vacation allotment is as follows:
Employees who regularly work less than 40 hours per week receive the same amount of days for years of service prorated per the average hours worked. All earned vacation will be paid upon termination of employment for all employees.
Termination: Once employment with the Conference terminates for any reason, an employee’s final paycheck(s) will be debited by an amount equal to the prorated time the employee was not working in the year. For example, if an employee with the Conference for two years resigns on June 30, the employee’s final paycheck would be debited by an amount equal to one week of vacation time.
All people serving churches shall receive a minimum of four weeks of vacation (28 days, including 4 Sundays). All persons are strongly encouraged to take their full vacation each year. However, persons can only accumulate or bank a maximum of 1½ times the total amount of vacation time they can earn. When a person reach their maximum vacation time, they do not accrue more vacation until the accumulated amount drops below the maximum amount that they can accumulate. Accrual calculations occur only on July 1 of each appointive year; therefore, if a person has reached his or her maximum accrual and has not taken any additional vacation by July 1, he or she would have to wait until the following year to receive additional vacation time.
For example, if a person has served a church for one year but has not taken any vacation time, he or she will earn only two additional weeks of vacation time on July 1 of the next appointment year. If a person has accumulated six weeks of unused vacation, that person will not accrue any additional vacation until July 1 of the following year and then only if his or her accrued vacation time dropped below the six weeks’ vacation maximum.
Person who regularly work less than full time receive the same number of weeks of vacation but pay is prorated to the percent of time worked.
All earned vacation will be paid upon termination of employment, including but not limited to change of appointment, for all persons. A local church may require a pastor to use the last weeks of an appointment as vacation rather than paying the unused vacation as an extra check. It is the expectation that the SPRC chair and/or staff person who keeps personnel records will be notified when vacation is being used and will maintain a record of vacation used.
The word ‘earned’ refers to a situation where person leaves their appointment in the middle of a conference year. The four weeks of vacation granted to that person on the prior July 1 would be reduced proportionately to the percent of the year served in that appointment.
For example, if a person has served a church for one year but has not taken any vacation time, he or she will earn only two additional weeks of vacation time on July 1 of the next appointment year. If a person has accumulated six weeks of unused vacation, that person will not accrue any additional vacation until July 1 of the following year and then only if his or her accrued vacation time dropped below the six weeks’ vacation maximum.
In cases of illness the absence should be reported to the employee’s supervisor within 30 (thirty) minutes after the start of the scheduled workday.
Sick Leave: Sick leave with pay will be granted in cases of absences due to personal injury, illness, and visits for medical or dental purposes. Sick leave will be granted to the employee for taking care of family members for whom they are the primary caregiver. An allotment of sick leave of 12 (twelve) days per year is provided on January 1 and new hires’ sick leave will be prorated beginning with the month hired.
Leave (with or without pay) – Maternity/Paternity Leave: Maternity or paternity leave, as appropriate, will be available to any employee who requests it prior to a new child’s birth or the adoption of a child. Eligible employees may take time off as specified by Federal law, accumulated sick leave and vacation time may be used.
The Conference will maintain health care benefits for the employee while on maternity/paternity leave, but the employee is responsible for paying the employee share of the monthly premium.
Personal Leave: Three (3) days of leave will be granted January 1 of each year for personal business or special family duties or occasions. Unused days cannot be carried over or paid out.
Leave without Pay: The supervisor may grant leave without pay at their discretion for periods not to exceed one month. Such leave for periods longer than this shall require the approval of the Personnel Committee. Requests for such leave without pay must state definite inclusive dates.
Military Leave: Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) of 1994. USERRA spells out conditions of leave that the employers must grant based on the type and duration of leave. Additionally, the Act spells out the responsibility of the enlisted employee to notify the employer of the need for absence and to return to work within a limited time. The USERRA is complex and conditional. Any employee requiring a military leave must notify the supervisor as soon as possible.
Jury Duty: Employees will be excused with pay for jury service. No reimbursement of money received by employee as compensation or expense allowance for jury duty will be required to be made to the Conference.
Family Illness/Funeral/Death: In the event of critical illness or death of parents, children, spouse, grandparents, parent-in-laws, or significant other person, a leave of absence of up to five calendar days per incident may be granted, after consultation with the employee’s supervisor. Additional days may be granted, without pay, by the supervisor or taken as vacation days.
Inclement Weather: For the safety of our Conference staff, an office will be closed when the school district in the area is closed due to adverse driving conditions related to snow and ice. Should the school district in the area in which the employee lives close due to snow or ice, they would not be required to report to work. If there were other times when safety becomes a concern, the employee would need to consult with their supervisor.
The Conference observes ten (10) holidays for which the office is closed and for which fulltime employees are paid. These days are:
When a holiday falls on Saturday, the Friday before is observed as the holiday. When the holiday falls on Sunday, the Monday after is observed as the holiday.
Employees working less than 40 (forty) hours are granted holiday pay prorated per the hours worked and is based on the schedule outline above for full-time employees. They will receive pay regardless of whether they regularly work on that day.
Health insurance benefits are available to employees to the extent and pursuant to the terms of the Conference’s current contract. Employees should contact the Conference Benefits Officer for a written Summary of Benefits.
Staff members working (30) thirty hours or more are eligible for coverage.
Upon completion of an annual physical the employee will receive reimbursement of one month’s staff share of health coverage.
When an employee’s position has been eliminated, the Conference will offer to pay the employer’s portion of three months’ health insurance premiums beyond the date of termination. (This does not apply when the employee is terminated for misconduct). Thereafter, the employee may elect to continue their health insurance coverage, including dependent coverage, by enrolling in COBRA.
Employees who have voluntarily terminated may elect to continue their health coverage, including dependent coverage, by enrolling in COBRA.
Staff members working (20) twenty hours a week or 1,040 hours a year are eligible for pension. The Conference will contribute into staff pension at the rate of (6) six percent of salary with a (3) three percent required match on the employee’s part. If the staff elects not to contribute their (3) three percent, then the employer portion will be forfeited.
The pension benefits are subject to the terms and conditions of the current contract with the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits. A summary of benefits is available from the Senior Benefits Officer.
Eligibility: Lay staff members of the Conference working at least thirty (30) hours per week. This benefit is governed by the insurance policy.
Upon commencement of STD leave, continuing coverage of any employer-sponsored health insurance will be governed per the Conference’s current health insurance contract. If allowed under that contract, the Conference will maintain health insurance benefits for the employee while on STD, but the employee is responsible for paying the employee share of the monthly premium. If the employee fails to make payment to the conference in the amount of the personal share of the premium within 30 days of due date, his or her coverage may be subject to lapse in accordance with the terms and conditions of the health insurance contract.
Eligibility: Lay staff members of the Conference working at least thirty (30) hours per week and enrolled in the Conference health insurance plan. This benefit is governed by the insurance policy.
For the first 24 months of LTD leave, the Conference will assist the employee by reimbursing the employee in the amount equal to the lesser of (1) the actual cost of the employee’s monthly health insurance premium at the current coverage level, or (2) $1,186 per month. To be eligible for such reimbursement, the employee must provide proof of payment of the monthly premiums. If the employee becomes a beneficiary in a third-party’s group health plan, reimbursement will only be provided for the premium allocated to the employee as plan beneficiary and in no event, more than $1,186 per month.
Continuing coverage under the Conference’s health insurance plan is available to eligible employees through COBRA for 23 months.
After the initial 24 months, the employee will receive $300.00 per month until age 65 if the employee remains on LTD. Spouses and dependents (up to the age of 26) who are currently covered by Conference health insurance will receive $300.00 each per month for three (3) years – employee must be on LTD. If the employee becomes a beneficiary in a third-party’s group health plan, reimbursement of $300 per month will only be provided for the employee.
No payment will be made if the employee is no longer eligible for long term disability.
Life Insurance and AD&D benefits are available to employees working (30) thirty hours or more per week. The Plan describes the terms and conditions.
Staff members of Conference shall be granted time off with pay to attend the conference.
Staff who are elected delegates or reserve delegates to a jurisdictional or general conference shall be granted time off with pay to attend the conference.
To enable staff participation and involvement in United Methodist Church Volunteer in Mission projects, the Conference will grant up to a week with pay per year to join a VIM team. The staff person’s supervisor must give authorization for participation in a VIM trip.
Cash payments may not be received in lieu of participation in any or all the benefit programs described above.
The Great Plains Conference offers connectional services within the United Methodist Church and its operation is for religious purposes. Therefore, no unemployment benefits are available from employment through the Conference.
A staff member removed involuntarily from his or her position may receive a separation payment at the discretion of the Conference. The eligibility and amount of such payment shall be as determined by the Bishop and/or his or her representative(s) and may be contingent upon the receipt of reasonable consideration in exchange.
Before leaving the Great Plains Conference's employment, the Chairperson of the Conference Personnel Committee plus the employee’s immediate supervisor or another Personnel committee member will conduct a formal Exit Interview. This document will become part of the existing staff person's personnel file. This policy does not apply to temporary/seasonal employees.
Upon request and at the discretion of the Conference, the Senior Conference Benefits Officer may aid an employee affected by the downsizing, relocation, or closing of his/her place of employment in locating outplacement services to assist with career option analysis, résumé preparation, application completion, interviewing skills, networking, access to job banks, skill training, etc. Such assistance by the Senior Conference Benefits Officer will be limited to information about available resources and, as needed, referral to an appropriate organization.
District Superintendent salaries shall eventually be tied to a percentage of the base salaries of full-time elders serving local churches in the Great Plains United Methodist Conference (GPUMC). The DS salary shall be 150% of the previous year’s full-elder base salary average of those serving local churches. Ideally, there should be approximately 15-20 local church salaries higher than the DS salary.
All district superintendents shall be paid the same when the formula catches up to the currently highest paid people. No district superintendent will receive a decrease in salary except those beginning service in that role in 2013. Increases will be phased in over time toward the goal. Newly appointed district superintendents and the Directors of Clergy Excellence and Congregational Excellence will receive the same salary as the highest paid people whose salaries are being phased in.
District Superintendents shall receive a parsonage in addition to the base salary but no utility allowance. District Superintendents shall receive health insurance on the same basis as all other elders in the conference policy.
The District Superintendent base salary will be recalculated every year in February once full elder local church salaries are known. Thus, in February of 2015, using 2015 numbers, the salary for 2016 compensation will be calculated.
Three director positions, specifically, the Director of Clergy Excellence/Assistant to the Bishop, Director of Congregational Excellence and Director of Administrative Services/Treasurer, shall be paid at the DS level with housing allowances and other benefits. The Director of Communications will have a compensation level agreed upon by the Director of Clergy Excellence/Assistant to the Bishop and the Personnel Committee.
The Director of Clergy Excellence/Assistant to the Bishop, the Director of Congregational Excellence, the Director of Administrative Services/Treasurer, and in rare cases District Superintendents, may receive a housing allowance of $15,000 in lieu of a parsonage.
If these principles are adopted, continuing Nebraska district superintendents will have their salaries frozen at $80,961 with no reduction and no increase for several years. The Nebraska DS appointed for the first time to the cabinet in 2013, the new Director of Clergy Excellence, the DS appointed for the first time in 2013 to the cabinet in Kansas West, the new DS appointed for the first time to the cabinet in 2013 in Kansas East, the Director of Congregational Excellence and continuing Kansas West DSes will receive the Kansas West salary of $75,980 in 2014. Continuing Kansas East DSes and the Director of Administrative Services/Treasurer will receive $70,333 in 2013 and $73,681 in 2014. It is anticipated that all DSes and the three comparably paid directors will be at the 150% level in 2016.
Each district will have an administrative assistant, who is an employee of the Great Plains United Methodist Conference (GPUMC). Each one will be supervised, including hiring, evaluation and termination, by the appropriate district superintendent. The district administrative assistant job description will be approved by the conference Personnel Committee so that functions of the district office such as data entry will be coordinated with the conference office. All district accounting will be centralized at the conference office with petty cash functions in each district office. For 2014, there will be no change in the salaries and number of hours for any of the district administrative assistants. During 2014, the Personnel Committee will be charged with looking at reviewing job descriptions, hours and compensation.
The Great Plains United Methodist Conference (GPUMC) shall operate a central treasury under the direction and supervision of the Conference Treasurer in accordance with the policies and procedures of The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, the GPUMC and its Council on Finance & Administration (CFA). The funds of all boards, councils, committees and task forces of the GPUMC (hereinafter called agencies or individual agency) as well as Districts and related corporations and their units shall be held in the central treasury, unless otherwise authorized by the CFA.
The Conference Treasurer shall be the custodian of all Mission Share (apportionment) funds, non-budgeted funds, special offerings, and other designated funds. The Conference Treasurer shall make accounting of all receipts and disbursements in accordance with The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, and the policies and procedures approved by the CFA.
Donor restricted funds given to the Kansas East, Kansas West, and Nebraska Conferences will be respected as to both purpose and geography as assets are combined into the GPUMC. Unrestricted funds given to the three conferences will be combined for the benefit of the GPUMC as a whole.
The fiscal year of the GPUMC shall be January 1 to December 31. All local church remittances that are received at the bank Post Office Box or delivered to the GPUMC Administrative Services office located in Topeka on or before January 8, 2015, will be credited to the immediately preceding fiscal year, unless otherwise designated by the church. All remittances by local churches received after that date shall be credited to the next fiscal year, regardless of fiscal year designation. Any variance to this deadline, due to extraordinary circumstances, will be at the discretion of the Conference Treasurer.
The mission share formula for the Conference will be based upon a percentage of each church’s total operating income, with total operating income to be equal to the amount listed on Table 3, line 62, of each church’s annual report to the conference. The Conference will use a 10% mission share formula for the base budget.
Each local church in the Great Plains United Methodist Conference (GPUMC) will be asked to contribute 1% of its total operating income to the mission work of key partner agencies. This amount is over and above the mission share tithe. These agencies are separately incorporated and have a historic missional tie to the work of the annual conference. In each budget, the list may be adjusted by action of the Annual Conference. The GPUMC Council on Finance and Administration will recommend a list each year. Money given to Mission Agency Support will be divided proportionately among the agencies listed in the Budget section.
The Conference Advance list is recommended each year by the Mercy and Justice Team for action by the Annual Conference. All ministries on this list have the privilege of approaching the churches of the conference to raise funds in support of their efforts. Only additions or deletions to the approved list will be voted on each year at Annual Conference.
No agency, institution or organization beyond those in the Mission Agency Support or Conference Advance lists shall make a special conference-wide appeal to the local church for funds without the approval of the Annual Conference session, upon recommendation of the CFA. In case of extreme emergency, approval may be given by the Connecting Council upon recommendation of the CFA.
The Conference Budget is to be developed in the following manner:
A. Meeting expense reimbursement
B. At or immediately following the close of any fiscal year, the Council on Finance & Administration’s Executive Committee shall have the authority to pay any remaining General Church and South Central Jurisdiction mission shares from available cash.
C. ll available funds remaining in the Conference budget shall be transferred to Conference reserves. Notwithstanding the forgoing sentence, those available funds remaining in the accounts of the three related corporations: New Church Development, Inc., United Methodist Campus Ministry, Inc., and United Methodist Camps, Inc., as well as accounts for the work of the Board of Trustees related to property management, and Missional Opportunities shall not be so transferred.
D. Operating Reserve: The Operating Reserve provides for cash flow needs of the Conference and shall be used at the direction of the CFA. The goal of the Operating Reserve shall be to maintain an annual balance of no less than ten (10) percent not to exceed twenty (20) percent of the Conference budget. Operating Reserve balance above twenty (20) percent at the end of the fiscal year shall be reported to the Connecting Council and shall be included as part of the Great Plains Conference Reserve Fund. Great Plains Conference Reserve Fund (amended June 2014).
The Conference has at its disposal an account referred to as the Great Plains Conference Reserve Fund. This fund is restricted by the Annual Conference and is to be administered by the CFA. The purpose of the fund is to support conference ministries. It is the Conference’s intention to maintain a minimum balance of $10,000,000. This balance is to provide additional protection against stock market downturns for the purpose of meeting potential pension obligations.
E. Non-Budget Fund Accounts: The Conference Treasurer may receive and disburse funds for designated purposes, separate from the Conference budget. Such funds shall be listed as “NonBudget Fund Accounts.” All Non-Budget Fund Accounts must be sponsored by an agency of the Conference.
Investments of the Conference funds shall be made by the Conference Treasurer, under the direction of the Conference Investment Committee under the policies and procedures for all investment transactions and balances as described below.
Purpose: The purpose of the Great Plains United Methodist Conference Investment Policy is to provide governance and oversight to the Investment Committee of the Conference with the intent to facilitate and not hinder conference committees, commissions, institutions and agencies in the execution of their duties related to their investment portfolios and in the use of their funds.
In recognition of fiduciary responsibilities and the mandate of the 2012 Book of Discipline (¶ 613.5), the CFA has approved this Investment Policy governing the Investment Committee of the Conference. This Investment Policy shall comply with the policies related to Conflict of Interest and Investment Management of Annual Conference Pension and Pension Related Funds under ¶ 1508 of the 2012 Book of Discipline.
Delineation of Responsibilities
Under the 2012 Book of Discipline (¶ 612.1), the purpose of the CFA shall be to develop, maintain, and administer a comprehensive and coordinated plan of fiscal and administrative policies, procedures, and management services for the annual conference. The CFA is responsible for establishing principles, policies, standards and guidelines for the investment of all monies, assets and properties of the Conference. The CFA is responsible for the financial integrity and oversight of the financial resources of the Conference. By this Investment Policy, the CFA delegates, to the extent provided, to the Investment Committee the management and operations of the Conference’s investment assets, which are made subject to this Investment Policy. Under this Investment Policy, the Conference’s investment assets are comprised of funds under the responsibility of the CFA, the Board of Trustees (BOT), the Council on New Church Development (CNCD), and the Board of Pension and Health Benefits (BOPHB), except for funds within the Conference pension plans. The Investment Committee shall establish investment objectives for the Conference funds under the responsibility of the CFA, BOT, CNCD, and BOPHB, except for funds within the Conference pension plans, so as not to hinder the stewardship of their respective Conference funds as required by the United Methodist Book of Discipline or Conference policies and procedures.
The Investment Committee shall be fully accountable to the CFA. The CFA shall review the Investment Policy and the work of the Investment Committee, as needed, to determine the effectiveness of and the overall results of the investments.
The Investment Committee shall:
Persons that are charged with investing funds have a fiduciary responsibility for those funds. Fiduciary responsibility requires those responsible for investments to fulfill the legally imposed duties of loyalty, care, and prudence. The members of the Investment Committee are fiduciaries subject to the rules and laws governing fiduciary behavior.
The Duty of Loyalty prohibits self-dealing by persons who are fiduciaries. They are not permitted to take part in investment decisions that would create a conflict of interest. All investment decisions are to be made with a view to the interest of the beneficiaries, in this case the various agencies, committees, boards, and councils of the Conference providing funds for investment, rather than to the personal interests of the fiduciary. When conflicts do arise, they should be disclosed to the Chairperson of the Investment Committee (or if a conflict of interest involves the Chairperson, then to the Conference Treasurer) immediately. Advance disclosure in writing will provide evidence of the disclosure in the event the issue of conflict of interest is raised. Any fiduciary with a conflict involving an investment decision should abstain from any participation in that decision and document the abstention in the minutes of the meeting.
The Duty of Care requires that a fiduciary act at all times in good faith and in a manner which is in the best interest of the beneficiaries. Fiduciaries are to be adequately informed about alternatives available at the time of decision. Where specific instructions are left with regard to legacies, those instructions must be followed unless changed by court order. The duty of care includes prudence in the investment context (including diligence in attending meetings), efforts to ascertain relevant information prior to decision making, balanced judgment, adequate assessment and balancing of potential investment risks and returns and adequate diversification of investments.
Fiduciary responsibility cannot be delegated. The decision of the Investment Committee to engage Investment Manager(s) will not absolve the Investment Committee from its ultimate responsibility for the care of the funds. In order to discharge adequately the duties of care and loyalty, the fiduciary will need to demonstrate that appropriate procedures were used for selecting the Investment Manager(s) and for monitoring the results of the advice received. The Investment Manager(s) should be trustworthy and competent to perform the work as outlined by the Investment Committee. The loyalties of the Investment Managers(s) must run to the beneficiaries, not to the individual members of the Investment Committee.
Fiduciaries are permitted to accept and rely on the advice of an Investment Manager where they can demonstrate that their initial decision to engage the Investment Manager was well-founded and where subsequent development do not give rise to a basis for suspending that reliance.
The standard of care when making decisions is the Prudent Expert Standard, defined as: “… the care, skill, prudence and diligence under the circumstances then prevailing that a prudent person acting in a like capacity and familiar with such matters would use in the conduct of an enterprise of a like character and with like aims.”
Members of the Investment Committee
The Investment Committee shall be comprised of nine voting members, who shall be appointed by their respective councils, boards, and committees, as follows:
Conference staff may attend Investment Committee meetings with voice, but without voting rights, on Investment Committee matters.
The Investment Committee members shall be appointed annually by their respective councils, boards, and committees. For purposes of consistency, it is desired that the Investment Committee members will serve multiple years, but not to extend past their terms on their respective councils, boards, and committees. The Investment Committee, from among its voting members, shall annually elect the Chairperson and other officers as deemed necessary. The officers as so elected shall perform the duties traditionally handled by officers with those titles.
The Investment Committee may appoint subcommittees and taskforces to prepare recommendations and review particular issues. These subgroups will not have the authority to take action, but shall be information gathering and reporting groups.
Investment of Pooled Funds
To the extent possible, funds from individual boards, agencies, councils and committees from within the Conference shall be pooled for the purposes of investment. Investors in a pooled fund investment will benefit from economies of scale, which allow for lower trading costs, diversification and management. The pooled fund investors will proportionally share costs, capital gains and losses, and earnings. The determination of the funds to be pooled shall be done in consultation with the Conference Treasurer. Proper accounting and reporting procedures will be established and used to keep accurate records for the purpose of proportional distribution.
The time horizon for investments shall be based on the liquidity needs of each Conference account as specified by the Conference Treasurer. Capital values fluctuate over shorter periods and the Investment Committee recognizes that the possibility of capital loss does exist. However, historical asset class return data suggest that the risk of principal loss over a holding period of at least three to five years can be minimized with a long-term investment mix.
The Investment Committee intends that the investment portfolio should be managed in a manner that seeks to achieve the stated rate of return while limiting principal fluctuations over the established horizon for each Conference account. Financial research has demonstrated that risk is best minimized through diversification of assets, except in very limited circumstances when diversification may not be prudent. The Investment Committee would present a documented finding as to the nature of such circumstances before limiting diversification.
The purpose of allocating among asset classes is to insure the proper level of diversification and risk for each investment portfolio. The primary considerations in the asset allocation decision process are:
When mutual funds, commingled funds, ETFs and funds in general are used as an investment vehicle, then it is understood the Investment Committee has adopted the investment policies of those Funds. With the adoption of this Investment Policy, the Conference establishes the funds into which it allocates its assets as set forth on Appendix A.
Investment Performance Benchmarks
The investment performance of all portfolios will be measured against commonly accepted performance benchmarks. Consideration shall be given to the extent to which the investment results are consistent with the investment objectives and guidelines as set forth in this Investment Policy.
An Investment Manager must be knowledgeable and experienced in the prudent investment process, so that they may assist the Investment Committee in reaching investment objectives effectively. Investment Managers shall be selected through a process to achieve the desired investment objectives as stated in this Investment Policy. The Investment Committee may engage one or more Investment Managers from the following categories:
Deciding when to replace a portfolio manager is often subjective as much as objective, however it is a decision that the Investment Committee will be responsible for and will make when deemed necessary.
Responsibilities of Investment Managers
Each Investment Manager will have discretion to make all investment decisions for the assets placed under its jurisdiction, while observing the operating within the guidelines, constraints, and philosophies as outlined in this Investment Policy. Specific responsibilities of the Investment Managers include:
Changes in the mix of assets or assignment of assets to different Investment Managers shall be made by action of the Investment Committee at a regular or called meeting with the advice and consultation of the Investment Manager(s). The Investment Committee shall undertake to maintain its desired asset allocation within 5% of the determined mix for any particular assets, except under unusual market conditions.
Socially Responsible Investment Guidelines
The Investment Committee shall pursue intentional investment decisions that further the principles of economic and social justice consistent with the goals outlined in the 2012 Book of Discipline and Social Principles of The United Methodist Church. Paragraph 717 of the 2012 Book of Discipline states: “Socially Responsible Investments—It shall be the policy of The United Methodist Church that all general Boards and agencies, including the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits, and all administrative agencies and institutions, including hospitals, homes, educational institutions, annual conferences, foundations and local churches, shall, in the investment of money, make a conscious effort to invest in institutions, companies, corporations or funds whose practices are consistent with the goals outlined in the Social Principles; and shall endeavor to avoid investments that appear likely, directly or indirectly, to support racial discrimination, violation of human rights, sweatshop or forced labor, gambling, or the production of nuclear armaments, alcoholic beverages or tobacco, or companies dealing in pornography, or the management or operation of prison facilities. The Boards and agencies are to give careful consideration to shareholder advocacy, including advocacy of corporate disinvestment.”
The Investment Committee shall keep a proper and prudent record of all-important documents, meeting minutes and other information relating to the management of the Funds. They shall be available at Custodian of the Records, which shall be the Conference Treasurer
Amendments and Revisions
Amendments or changes to this Investment Policy shall be made to and approved by the CFA and incorporated directly into the policy as a revision and restatement or acknowledged and noted in an addendum until such time as the Investment Policy is revised and restated. The Committee may amend Appendix A from time to time upon approval of CFA. Following each such amendment the Committee shall replace the respective with one that reflects the amendment approved by CFA.
Surety Bond coverage in the amount of $1,000,000 is secured to cover the Conference Treasurer and staff. The Conference does not provide bonding for local church treasurers. Local churches are to provide adequate bonding of their treasurer(s).
An annual audit of all Conference financial records shall be conducted by an independent certified public accountant as selected by the CFA upon recommendation of its Audit Review Committee. The Audit Review Committee will review such audit and present it to the CFA for final approval. A copy of the financial statements shall be included in the Conference Journal. The entire audit report may be viewed at the Conference Office.
The CFA has a fiduciary responsibility to the conference in administering conference funds. Therefore, the Council is required to review the financial statements of organizations to which grants or contributions of conference funds are made. The CFA shall appoint an audit committee that will have on its membership at least one member of the CFA plus additional members recruited for their expertise. This committee shall work with the auditor of the Annual Conference as well as review audits, reviews, and compilation reports of boards, agencies, and institutions as described below.
Reports from an independent Certified Public Accountant are required annually from each agency or institution that receives funds from the Conference treasury in accordance with the requirements listed below. Funds shall not be transferred to any agency or institution that has not forwarded its annual audit, review or compilation report for the preceding year within six months’ time after the close of its fiscal year. (2012 Discipline, Par. 617.2.) Agencies of the Conference using the conference central treasury for all their financial activity shall be included in the Conference audit and are not required to submit separate audit reports.
In addition to audit and financial reports submitted to the conference, organizations receiving conference funds shall also provide to the Conference a copy of all other required communications received from the external auditor. These communications may include, among other items, comments regarding any significant deficiencies in the design or the operation of the organization’s internal controls.
A. Audit, Review and Compilation Report Requirements:
Each agency or organization that has annual gross receipts of $500,000 or more shall submit a copy of its audited financial statements, together with any required communications from its external auditor and management letter (if applicable).
Each agency or organization that has annual gross receipts of between $250,000 and $499,999 is required to submit a copy of its financial statements together with a review report from a CPA.
Agencies and organizations with annual gross receipts of less than $250,000 must submit financial statements accompanied by a compilation report from a CPA with a CPA review required every third year.
Agencies and organizations with annual gross receipts below $500,000 may request a variance from the requirements listed above. Any variance granted is valid for the current reporting year only. A variance from these requirements shall not be granted for more than two consecutive years. The organization granted the variance shall submit the following information:
B. Other Circumstances
Grants or contributions of conference funds to organizations not meeting the above requirements shall not be made without special approval. Special approval shall require a favorable vote of at least 2/3 of the members of the Council on Finance and Administration present and voting.
Any institution/agency whose board is elected by the Conference, and that has mortgage indebtedness, shall provide an annual report to the Conference showing the:
If any such institution/agency plans to mortgage assets or to pledge endowment funds or to transfer funds from endowments to operating budgets and total indebtedness exceeds 10% of total assets or one million dollars, whichever is less, that mortgage must be approved by the Conference prior to the transaction, or in an emergency between sessions of the Conference, by a joint session of the Conference Cabinet and the CFA.
Contact information for clergy, churches, and laity held by the Conference is for the use and benefit of the Conference. Councils, boards, and agencies of the Conference, conference and jurisdictional Advances, local churches and districts, and agencies of the General Church may request contact information. Except as provided below, contact information held by the Conference, or provided to its respective agencies and institutions by the Conference, shall be considered confidential as to outside parties and shall not be provided to any person, group or business beyond those for whom the contact information was compiled, without the written approval of the CFA.
Contact information for clergy, churches, lay members of Annual Conference, and laity serving in conference or district leadership is printed in the Conference Journal. Directory Information placed on the conference website is limited to churches, clergy’s business contact information, and a few specific lay leadership positions. Information is not provided in a downloadable list.
The local church shall electronically submit the Local Church Report to Annual Conference no later than 5:00 PM on the last business day of January each year.
If a report is not received by the due date:
The Pastor is responsible for the accuracy of the information submitted and assuring the report is received by the deadline (2012 Discipline paragraph 340.2c(2)(f)). Information about submission of these reports will be sent to the pastor as soon as the General Council on Finance and Administration makes such information available.
Correction of errors with these reports after final submission should be made by the last business day of February each year. If errors are discovered after that date and the adjustment would affect Mission Shares, the District Superintendent would need to be contacted. Changes would only be made for extenuating circumstances at the discretion of the District Superintendent and the Conference Treasurer.
Church members and others provide substantial financial resources to local churches, and expect church staff and lay leadership to provide proper oversight of such resources to ensure these resources are (1) used in a manner consistent with that expressed through the church’s annual operating budget and designated gifts, and (2) adequately safeguarded from improper use or loss. In light of expectations, every local United Methodist church, at a minimum, shall conduct an audit (review) as defined and described in the Local Church Audit Guide published by the General Church Council on Finance and Administration. The guide may be obtained at www.gcfa.org.
In addition to such minimum requirements for all churches, and consistent with the expectations for integrity, transparency and accountability described above, larger churches shall periodically subject their accounting records and controls to assessment by an independent certified public accountant. Specifically, larger churches (i.e., those with annual total receipts of more than $500,000)shall adopt one of the following two options(for purposes of this section, “total receipts” of each local church shall be annual total combined funds received through the operating budget; designated or restricted gifts given for a particular purpose, including special offerings collected throughout the year; monies received for capital buildings or improvements or for debt service; contributions received for endowed funds, preschool tuition and fees received; and any funds received from other sources):
For purposes of this requirement, the frequency of having either option 1 or option 2 performed shall depend on the annual total receipts of each local church from all sources as described above. For purposes of determining the applicability of this requirement, “total funds received” shall be the average annual total receipts (as defined above) for the prior three years. (For example, for purposes of applying this test in 2014, local churches would determine the average of total funds received for the years 2011-2013.) If average total funds received by a local church exceed $2,000,000, the local church should have audit work performed by an independent CPA under either option 1 or option 2 annually. For those local churches who have average total funds received of less than $2,000,000 but more than $1,000,000, those churches should have audit work performed by an independent CPA under option 1 or option 2 once every two years. For those who have average total funds received of less than $1,000,000 but more than $500,000, those churchesshould have audit work performed by an independent CPA under option 1 or option 2 once every three years. For any year in which a larger church (as defined above) is not required to have work done by an independent CPA under option 1 or 2, such churches shall conduct an audit (review) as described in the first paragraph of this section.
See the budget summary for 2016.