Petition 81369

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Complaints Against Bishops (81369-JA-¶413)

Amend ¶¶413.2 and 413.3 as follows:
    ¶413.2  Any complaint concerning the effectiveness, competence, or one or more of the offenses listed in ¶2702 shall be submitted to the president of the College of Bishops in that jurisdictional or central conference.  If the complaint concerns the president, it shall be submitted to the secretary of the College of Bishops  chair of the jurisdictional or central conference committee on episcopacy (hereafter “chair”).  A complaint is a written statement claiming misconduct, unsatisfactory
        performance of ministerial duties, or one or more of the offenses listed in ¶2702.   For the purposes of this paragraph, the United Methodist bishops of the central conferences shall constitute one college of bishops.
3.    After receiving a complaint as provided in § 413.2, the president and the secretary of the College of Bishops, or the secretary and another member of the college if the complaint concerns the president (or the president and another member of the college if the complaint concerns the secretary), in consultation with a lay and clergy member of the jurisdictional or central conference committee on episcopacy appointed by the chair of the jurisdictional or central conference committee on episcopacy, along with two other members of the committee appointed by the chair (including a member from that bishop’s annual conference), shall make a supervisory response.  
    a.    When deemed appropriate to protect the well-being of the complainant, the Church and/or bishop, the College of Bishops, in consultation with  upon the recommendation of the jurisdictional or central conference committee on episcopacy, may suspend the bishop from all episcopal responsibilities for a period not to exceed sixty days.  During the suspension . . .  
        b.    The supervisory response is pastoral ... should be completed within 120 days.  There may be 2 additional extensions of 120 days if the supervising Bishop  chair determines that an extension will be productive.  The supervising Bishop  chair shall regularly advise all parties of the status of the process and shall notify all parties within 7 days after a determination is made that the supervisory response will not lead to a resolution of the matter.
                   No verbatim record shall be made ... with the right to voice.  At the determination of the president (secretary)  chair, persons with qualifications and experience in assessment, intervention, or healing may be selected to assist in the supervisory responses.  Others may be consulted as well.
c.    The supervisory response may include ... to all parties.  (See ¶ 362.1[b]).  The appropriate persons, including the president of the College of Bishops, or the secretary if the complaint concerns the president,  chair should enter into a written agreement outlining such process, ...
        d.    If the supervisory response results in the resolution of the matter, the bishop  chair in charge of the supervisory response shall monitor the fulfillment of the terms of the resolution.  If the supervisory response does not result in resolution of the matter, the president or secretary of the College of Bishops  chair of the jurisdictional or
                central conference committee on episcopacy
may refer the matter as an Administrative Complaint (¶ 413.3[e]) or a Judicial Complaint (¶ 2704.1).
e.   Administrative Complaint—If the complaint is based on allegations of incompetence, ineffectiveness, or unwillingness or inability to perform episcopal duties, the president and secretary of the College of Bishops (or the two members of the college who are handling the complaint)   chair of the jurisdictional or central conference committee on episcopacy may refer the complaint to the entire jurisdictional or central conference committee on episcopacy. . . . When the jurisdictional or central conference committee on episcopacy deems the matter serious enough and when one or more offenses listed in ¶2702 are involved, the committee may refer the complaint back to the president and secretary of the College of Bishops (or the two members of the college who are handling
                the complaint) for referral
 as a judicial complaint to the jurisdictional or central conference committee on investigation.  The provisions of ¶362.3 for fair process in administrative hearings shall apply to this administrative process.

Rationale

The Judicial Council ruled in 1980 that bishops were not subject to the evaluation of other bishops regarding the matter of accountability (JCD 475).  Making bishops accountable for supervising another bishop in the complaint process creates conflicting roles and implicitly violates that ruling.  It is unsound to expect bishops to...