National Clergy Deployment Office Recommended

Diocesan Press Service. June 16, 1969 [77-20]

NEW YORK, N. Y. -- The immediate establishment of a national Clergy Deployment Office, designed to house a modern "data bank" of up-to-date personnel records of all clergy, will be recommended for the Episcopal Church by the Joint Commission on the Deployment of the Clergy at the Special General Convention at South Bend, Ind., in August.

Such an office would be the first step in a proposed reorganization of Church practices in the deployment of its professional leadership and would be completed by the General Convention of 1973.

The Clergy Deployment Office would be governed by an independent Board selected by the General Convention itself and would be located in New York City adjacent to the Church Pension Fund. This location will facilitate joint use of the Fund's "360" computer according to the Rt. Rev. John H. Burt, Bishop of Ohio and chairman of the Joint Commission.

Specific design for the Office and its operation has been shaped by Charles F. Smith, management consultant firm. An implementing budget of $107,300 is projected for the first year of operation, with annual outlays of $90,365 thereafter. These sums would be paid through an increased General Convention assessment amounting to $9.51 per active clergyman.

In addition to launching the Clergy Deployment Office, the Special General Convention will be asked to study and debate the complete plan for overhauling deployment practices. This plan is known as the Deployment Model.

This Model proposes, among other things, placing in the hands of diocesan authority the responsibility for nominating clergymen for vacant posts after written "position descriptions" have been drafted. Final authority for election would still be retained by the vestry or other appropriate governing board. Other new features include an annual "job performance evaluation" in which the bishop and clergyman himself confer; a review of job tenure after the first seven years and at five year intervals thereafter; and a method for relocating clergymen when, for reasons of career development or because of diminished effectiveness, a change would be beneficial for both the man and the mission of the Church.

In proposing increased authority for the bishop, the Commission has also designed a number of safeguards against arbitrary use of such power, including provision for appeal and review boards in each diocese.

The 20 page Commission Report, to be distributed to the Church during June in the "green book" for Special General Convention II, opens with a description of the state of clergy morale today, resulting, in part, from the Church's "lack of system" for deployment.

Many clergymen "don't know where to turn" when they want to move. Some areas of the nation are oversupplied. Others have difficulty filling vacancies. All Bishops have difficulty in evaluating credentials. Vestries and calling committees have few guides to aid them. Finally, clergymen's jobs are so ill-defined that they often operate on assumptions that are not related to the assumptions of their parish. Clergy rarely get effective evaluation and feel they lack career opportunities and clear avenues of advancement.

The proposed Clergy Deployment Office would not by itself eliminate these problems, states the Committee report, but it would be an initial and essential step toward a fully revised deployment system which could contribute to an effective solution.

The Clergy Deployment Office would house "hard data" already on tape in the Pension Fund files, data from the clergyman on the types of work and experience he desires in his next assignment, and references. A clergyman desiring a change of job would be able to make his availability and his special interests known across the country by alerting the Clergy Deployment Office. The confidential nature of the information will be protected since only the individual clergyman and his bishop would be authorized to release information from the "data bank. "

Members of the Joint Commission, in addition to Bishop Burt, include the Rt. Rev. Roger W. Blanchard, Bishop of Southern Ohio; the Rev. Quintin E. Primo, Jr., president of the Union of Black Clergy and Laity; the Rev. Jones B. Shannon, former executive with the Church Society for College Work and now a private consultant in clergy job placement; Donald H. Putam of Connecticut, vice-president of Conrac, a large electronics firm; Daniel Carroll of Chicago, vice-president of Booz, Allen and Hamilton, management consultants; Martin Ohlander of Colorado; L. Dale Pederson of Oregon; Mrs. Robert Ledbetter of Washington, D.C.; and Rear Admiral (Ret.) Edward K. Walker of Newark.

Consultants to the Commission have included the Rev. Canon Charles M. Guilbert, the Rev. Robert Rodenmayer and the staff of the Field Research and Survey facility, headed by the Rev. David Covell, all of the Executive Council; the Rev. Sidney Goldsmith of the Church Pension Fund; and Charles F. Smith Associates, a New York management consultant firm.