Interim EC CFO Bill Townes noted that the reallocation of a previously approved budget gained precedent in September 2005 and September 2017, when the EC took those steps to respond to disaster relief needs related to hurricanes Katrina, Harvey and Irma.
A second recommendation called for amending the 2022-23 budget approved by the EC at its February meeting. A Special Priority Allocation of $4 million – prorated on a monthly basis – will be added to the National Cooperative Program Allocation Budget, bringing its total to $196,070,000. That priority allocation, if approved, would fund the work of an Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force “to assess, establish, develop and implement a comprehensive framework” for the SBC’s response to sexual abuse and “respond appropriately to legal matters on behalf of the SBC.”
In addition, the first 50 percent of overages in gifts to the Cooperative Program Allocation Budget will go toward the SBC’s ongoing response to abuse care and misconduct allegations as well as legal matters. The funding will not begin until the upcoming financial year in October.
The recommendation passed with 82 percent of trustees in favor.
The third recommendation addressed additional funding for ongoing EC legal fees for the 2021-22 budget year. Trustees initially allocated $500,000 toward legal fees last September. At their February gathering, however, they increased the allocation to $2 million with the stipulation that another approval could be necessary.
Townes described the recommendation as a “just in case” scenario and commended interim EC President/CEO Willie McLaurin’s efforts to limit those expenses.
“He’s meeting with our current attorneys to look at ways to limit those legal expenses over the next several months as much as possible, to cap those costs to where they’re manageable,” he said.
The recommendation passed with 89 percent approval, 9 percent negative and 2 percent abstentions.
Before those recommendations were considered, EC members voted to ratify a statement of public repentance issued May 24 in light of the Guidepost Solutions report. It passed with 92 percent approving, 6 percent voting negative and 2 percent abstentions. Trustee Joe Knott asked for the record to show that he voted against the ratification of the statement.
Southern Baptists will also have their opportunity to consider the recommendations soon.
“The recommendations presented by the Sex Abuse Task Force will be brought forward to messengers in Anaheim. In addition, the Executive Committee has begun laying the groundwork to ensure that messengers have a pathway to fund the recommendations,” he said.
McLaurin applauded EC members’ “measured and methodical work on behalf of the Southern Baptist Convention” as well as the leadership of Slade and Archie Mason, chairman of the Committee on Convention Finances and Stewardship Development.
“During uncertainty, these men have led with character and clarity,” he said.
This article originally appeared here.