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06494 September 29, 2006
GAC approves new staff structure
New alignment saves $500,000 in 2007, $800,000 in 2008
by Jerry Van Marter
LOUISVILLE - As expected, the General Assembly Council (GAC) has approved a new staff structure for the mission program and "shared services" that will be in place by Jan. 1, 2007.
The realignment will save the GAC an estimated $500,000 in 2007 and $800,000 in 2008, but new GAC Executive Director Linda Valentine said saving money isn't the point.
"There were three guiding principles in developing this structure," she told the council before it approved the new structure Sept. 28. "We want to be more responsive to the middle governing bodies and congregations, the whole church and other constituencies; we want to be more accountable for outcomes and results; and we want to be more collaborative, transparent, efficient and effective."
The streamlined structure eliminates the 13-year-old alignment of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s mission programs into three ministry divisions - Congregational Ministries, National Ministries and Worldwide Ministries - and groups the denomination's national and international mission program in six program areas under a single Deputy Executive Director for Mission reporting to Valentine.
She said she hopes to fill that position sometime in November. Directors for the program areas will be named shortly thereafter.
The program areas do not have names as yet and detailed structure has not yet been developed, but current programmatic functions have been assigned to them:
Area 1 - theology, worship, Christian education, stewardship, curriculum publishing;
Area 2 - evangelism, church growth, vocation and leadership;
Area 3 - social justice, peacemaking, the Presbyterian Washington Office and the Presbyterian United Nations Office in New York;
Area 4 - relief and development (Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, Presbyterian Hunger Program, Self-development of People, national and international health ministries);
Area 5 - worldwide mission in partnership (including overseas mission personnel); and
Area 6 - women's and racial ethnic ministries.
Questions from council members addressed some of the groupings. "We could have had five [program areas], we could have had 15," Valentine responded. "Implementation is crucial," she said. "How we behave is what's going to make the difference."
Valentine said she also hopes the new structure will break down "false distinctions" between programmatic work and support functions. "Everything we do must support the mission activities of the church, not just here but in presbyteries and congregations."
The GAC approved her appointment of Joey Bailey as Deputy Executive Director for Shared Services and Chief Financial Officer. He will oversee finance and accounting, human resources, resource distribution and information technology.
A new position, executive administrator, was approved, in Valentine's words "for all the important functions that report to me that are just unmanageable. My role is to report to staff and council and to be out and about in the church - I need a partner."
The executive administrator will oversee the GAC's General Assembly activities, the advocacy committees for racial ethnic and women's concern, the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy, Research Services, relations between the GAC and other PC(USA) agencies, special initiatives of the council and "cultural proficiency."
The council approved another top position - Deputy Executive Director for Communication and Funds Development. Valentine said she hopes to fill that position well before the end of the year.
Communication is crucial, Valentine added. "We hear again and again around the church the need for better communication for spreading the gospel and being a connectional church. Communication undergirds all that we do."
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