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Page consolidates, reduces EC staff
Baptist Press
December 01, 2010
7 MIN READ TIME

Page consolidates, reduces EC staff

Page consolidates, reduces EC staff
Baptist Press
December 01, 2010

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Citing

unprecedented economic challenges facing the Executive Committee (EC), Frank

Page, president and chief executive officer of the EC since Oct. 1, announced

structural and staffing changes on the Executive Committee staff in two memos

sent to Executive Committee members on Nov. 17 and Nov. 29.

Page informed the Executive Committee that he has reduced the EC staff from

five divisions to three, combining the duties of two divisions and bringing

another into the president’s office. The office of news services and the office

of convention relations, separated into two offices since 1991, have been

combined back into one office and will become the office of convention

communications and relations. Given the economic situation the Executive

Committee is facing, Page said he thought it “wise to return to this

arrangement, at least for the immediate future.”

Roger S. (Sing) Oldham, current vice president of convention relations since

2007, will assume oversight of the new office. The position of vice president

of news services, filled by Will Hall since 2000, has been eliminated. Hall’s

last day of service is Dec. 3, 2010.

Baptist Press will conduct its work through the new office of convention

communications and relations. Art Toalston, editor of Baptist Press since 1992,

“will continue to oversee the daily operations of this vital news service to

Southern Baptists,” Page wrote.

Reflecting on Hall’s 10 years of service to the EC, Page affirmed his effective

leadership in expanding the reach of BP through multiple venues. “Will has been

a faithful employee of the Executive Committee for over ten years,” Page wrote.

“His desire to serve the Lord and Southern Baptists has been manifest in many

ways over the years that have revealed a life-style of integrity and

competence. This has been accompanied by a kindness which is deeply profound.

He will be personally missed.”

Hall responded, “It’s been a blessing to serve on the Executive Committee staff

and to lead Baptist Press for more than a decade. Baptist Press has been a

rewarding ministry, not just for what has been achieved, but especially for the

friendships, fellowship and professional relationships that define the Baptist

Press staff and the rest of the team which includes so many contributors around

the nation who help make Baptist Press a news service of distinction.”

He added, “Catherine and I and our family cherish the special relationships

which have marked this portion of our lives, and we pray for His blessings on

the Executive Committee leadership, staff and trustees, and on the Southern

Baptist Convention.”

Under Hall’s leadership, Baptist Press initiated a sports news service and

launched a Spanish weekly edition. Baptist Press also developed such special

projects as TruthQuest California (a Christian teen travelogue later developed

by FamilyNet into a television series). The Library of Congress selected

Baptist Press’ war coverage by a team embedded on the USS Harry S. Truman, and

later deployed on the ground in Iraq, for a historical collection of the 2003

War on Iraq that will provide access to researchers worldwide. In the past

three years, Baptist Press has won 35 first, second or third place awards from

four professional organizations, including recognition as “Best in Class” as a

news service. Hall’s personal awards include top honors for editorials and news

writing.

In his Nov. 29 memo, Page also indicated that, “beginning immediately,” the

responsibility for Cooperative Program promotion will be housed in his office.

He wrote, “I hope Southern Baptists will see in this my desire to give a

heightened sense of priority to Cooperative Program promotion by making it a

direct responsibility of the president’s office.”

A separate office of Cooperative Program was created in 1997. It was expanded

to include stewardship education in 2006. With the duties of Cooperative

Program promotion being brought directly into the president’s office, the vice

presidential role filled by Bob Rodgers since 2005 will come to an end on Dec.

10.

Page told Baptist Press that Rodgers had provided invaluable service to the EC

by reigniting a passion for biblical stewardship at a time when it seemed to be

languishing in denominational life. He wrote in the memo, “Bob is a layman who

has a passion for the things of God. Having served the Executive Committee

since 2005, he is a man who has served faithfully and brought to our Convention

a deep desire to see individual believers as well as churches fulfill the

commands of our Lord. He is a delightful human being whose presence will be

sorely missed.”

Rodgers, speaking of his five years of service on the Executive Committee,

said, “There is nothing in my professional life that has given me greater joy

than serving God and the Southern Baptist Convention as part of the Executive

Committee staff. My constant prayer is for the Christians in our churches to

practice biblical stewardship. Practicing biblical stewardship will free our

convention from the (financial) bondage that gets in the way of reaching a lost

world for Christ.”

The EC bylaws empower the president to “classify, title, and direct the members

of the (EC) staff in their work.” The bylaws also empower the president, with a

concurrence of the officers of the EC, to employ interim executive staff. The

personnel manual empowers the president to terminate employment of executive

staff with the concurrence of the EC officers and requires that he inform the

EC’s administrative subcommittee “no later than” the next scheduled Executive

Committee meeting.

“It is never an easy thing to let staff go from an organization,” Page wrote in

his Nov. 29 memo. “This has been an agonizing set of decisions for me to make.

Bob and Will have both made significant contributions to Kingdom work.”

In other action, Page changed the name of the office of convention policy to

the office of convention policy and operations. D. August (Augie) Boto, an EC

staff member since 1998, will oversee the office and will continue his duties

as executive vice president. Page also renamed the office of business and

finance to the office of convention finance. This position, vacant for the past

17 months, will be filled by William (Bill) Townes, who will serve as interim

vice president of convention finance until his formal election at the February

Executive Committee meeting.

In his Nov. 17 memo, Page wrote, “Bill comes to this role with a strong resume

of denominational service. He is currently the director of development at the

North American Mission Board, where he has been serving since 2007. He has

previously served as the chief financial officer of the Georgia Baptist

Convention from 1992 to 2006.” Page added, “Among Bill’s credentials include

his licensure as a CPA. He also holds an MBA degree.” Townes will assume his

office today (Dec. 1).

Noting that the EC had to operate well below anticipated budget receipts in the

fiscal year just ended (Sept. 30, 2010) and is facing the likelihood of even

greater budgetary shortfalls in the current year, Page wrote in his Nov. 29

memo, “we must make serious decisions because these are serious times.” He also

stated that the staff reductions “will not be the only ones we will need to

make in the days ahead.” He asked the EC members to “pray diligently” for him,

for the EC staff and “for the work of the entire Executive Committee.”