Decision Number 397
Petition of the Northwest Philippines Annual Conference for a Declaratory Decision as to the Meaning and Application of Paragraph 661.4 of the Discipline asIt Relates to an Action of the Special Session of the 1974 Session of the Annual Conference.
A Special Session of an Annual Conference has authority to authorize such actions and Procedures as it deems necessary to implement the acts and legislation which it enacts in accordance with the purpose of its call.
Statement of Facts
The 1974 session of the Northwest Philippines Annual conference, meeting May 15-19, voted to call a Special Session to deal with five specific matters, one of which was the Report of the Committee on Audit as referred to the Council on Finance and Administration. This Special Session met July 6, 1974. It was not able to complete its agenda on that day and voted to meet in an Adjourned Session August 15-16 to complete the work assigned to it.
At the session held August 15-16 the Council on Finance and Administration presented the recommendations of the Committee on Audit. These recommendations were approved by the conference. One of the recommendations was that Paragraph 882 of the Discipline be implemented. The Paragraph reads:
"For the sake of economy and efficiency the Annual Conference may constitute the conference treasury as a depository for funds designated for any or all conference boards and agencies participating in the conference benevolences, eliminating as far as possible the necessity of a treasurer for each. In this event the conference treasurer shall keep a separate account for each such conference board or agency, enter the proper credits in each at the end of each month's business, and disburse the same on proper order from each board or agency, respectively. None of the above-designated accounts shall be drawn on for the benefit of another."
Immediately following the approval of the report the conference passed the following resolution:
"Whereas the Council on Finance and Administration has recommended that we have a centralized funding system, be it resolved that all treasurers of conference boards, commissions and committees shall remit their fund holdings to the Conference Treasurer within sixty days."
The legality of the passing of this resolution was challenged by a member of the conference on the basis that it was not "stated in the call" as required by Paragraph 661.4 of the Discipline.
The motion was made that the action of the conference be appealed to the Judicial Council but the motion was defeated. The chairman of the conference then suggested that a Declaratory Decision as to the legality of the resolution be requested from the Judicial Council. This request was passed by the Conference.
The Judicial Council has Jurisdiction under Paragraph 1515.2 (i) of the 1972 Discipline.
Analysis and Rationale
The facts in this case are not in dispute. There is no question as to the legality of the session of the Annual Conference that passed the resolution nor of its authority to consider and take action, approving or disapproving the recommendations of the Committee on Audit presented by the Council on Finance and Administration. The consideration of this report was one of the five agenda items listed in the call of the Special Session.
The call for the Special Session did not specifically state that if the report of the Committee on Audit were approved, the conference then would have authority to implement the action by discontinuing the separate treasuries. The question before the Council is whether such an action by the conference is legal under Paragraph 661.4.
To suggest that the call for a Special Session of an Annual Conference must itemize in minute and specific detail each action that such Special Session is empowered to take regarding each of the matters which it is authorized to consider would be an interpretation so narrow as to be absurd. The granting of the power of consideration and action certainly implies the authority for implementation. If it did not, there would be little reason for consideration and action. The Annual Conference which authorized the Special Session and placed the consideration of the report of the Committee on Audit on the agenda did so for the purpose of having the matter resolved and presumably having this accomplished before the next regular annual meeting of the conference. Otherwise there would have been no reason for considering it in a Special Session. Thus the Special Session acted fully within its legal authority in passing the resolution of implementation.
When a Special Session of an Annual Conference, held under the provisions of Paragraph 661.4 of the Discipline, takes action regarding a matter properly assigned to it in the call, it has authority to authorize such actions and procedures as it deems necessary for implementation of its enactments.