Synod News — Wulf named to Synod CFO position

November 24th, 2010 Post by

Jerald C. Wulf of Pierre, S.D., was appointed Nov. 19 by the LCMS Board of Directors as the Synod’s new chief financial officer.  The Board selected Wulf during its Nov. 17-19 wulf.gifmeeting in Nashville, Tenn.

“Jerald Wulf comes to the national Synod with a wealth of Christian background and business experience,” said Board Chairman Dr. Robert T. Kuhn.  “He has served the local congregation in a variety of offices and also engaged in completing his lay ministry courses.

“The Synod will be richly blessed by the work of this Christian gentleman as CFO — one who is dedicated to our Lord and committed to the mission and ministry of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.”

Wulf, 58, succeeds Dr. Thomas W. Kuchta, who has served in the post since 2001 and plans to retire.  Kuchta announced in August 2009 that he would not stand for re-election at the 2010 LCMS convention.

That convention changed the way the position is to be filled — from one elected by convention delegates, to one appointed by the Synod Board of Directors, wwulf-kuchta.gifith the concurrence of the LCMS president.

At its meeting in Nashville, the Board also adopted a resolution giving thanks to God for Kuchta’s nine years of service in the post and expressing “its heartfelt thank you” to Kuchta for his national service, as well as his work “in numerous other positions and activities for and on behalf of the Synod at the national, district and local levels.”

Since the convention, Kuchta, 68, has been serving as interim chief financial officer.  He completed three terms as the Synod’s vice-president — finance/treasurer, overseeing the church body’s $100 million operating budget and serving on the boards of directors and investment committees of many LCMS entities, including the Lutheran Church Extension Fund, The LCMS Foundation, Concordia Plan Services, Concordia University System, the LCMS Board for Pastoral Education and Concordia Publishing House.

In his new position, Wulf will serve as treasurer of the national Synod, administering the church body’s financial affairs in accordance with its Articles of Incorporation, Constitution and Bylaws, and according to direction from the LCMS Board of Directors and the Synod president.

Wulf has served since 1976 with the South Dakota Department of Legislative Audit — currently as director of external audits. He also serves the Synod’s South Dakota District as district treasurer, a position he has held since 1991.

He has held numerous church-related positions, including congregation president, Lutheran Laymen’s League district governor, Bible study leader, LCMS convention delegate and member of several congregational boards including Board of Early Childhood Education, Board of Elders and Board of Education.

Wulf is a 1976 graduate of the University of South Dakota’s School of Business, Vermillion, S.D.

Although it has not yet been determined when he will begin his service at the Synod’s International Center in St. Louis, Wulf told Reporter he expects it to be “early February.”  He will serve a three-year term, renewable by the Board of Directors with the concurrence of the Synod president.

Wulf said he is “humbled and honored to have been appointed, and, as the Lord enables me, I will do my best to serve Him and His Church in this new role.

“I also thank the Lord for the good and faithful service of those who preceded me in this position.”

Posted Nov. 24, 2010

From Synod News.


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  1. November 25th, 2010 at 14:45 | #1

    The reporting focusing on Jerald Wulf’s faithful congregational participation is refreshing. It’s great to know that we have a man who has been intimately involved in so many varied positons and is so thoroughly aquainted with every aspect of the local congregation. He knows how congregations struggle to meet budgets and all that goes with that.

    Congratulations Jerald! God bless our Synod as we give thanks for another year and look forward to a new one in grace.

  2. Carl Vehse
    November 25th, 2010 at 23:06 | #2

    The LCMS news item states, “Jerald C. Wulf of Pierre, S.D., was appointed Nov. 19 by the LCMS Board of Directors as the Synod’s new chief financial officer” and “Since the convention, Kuchta, 68, has been serving as interim chief financial officer.”

    As Rev. Winter pointed out in his blog, “Rules for Thee, Not for Me,” there is no constitutional position of Chief Financial Officer in the Missouri Synod, at least until, and if, congregations vote 2/3s or more approval on Resolution 8-10 before the deadline in March of next year.

  3. Larry Kleinschmidt
    November 26th, 2010 at 01:53 | #3

    It’s nice that he has faithful congregational participation, but so do tens of thousands of other people. I’d like to see some details of his “wealth of … business experience.”

  4. Conv. Delegate
    November 26th, 2010 at 07:43 | #4

    @ Carl

    Resolution 8-39 was a by-law change that changed the CFO/Treasurer position from an elected position to an appointed position.

    Resolution 8-10 was a constitutional change that would change the status of the CFO/Treasurer. If the congregations approve the constitutional amendment the CFO/Treasurer will no longer be a member of the Board of Directors and will no longer be a named officer of the corporation.

    If the constitutional amendments fails, (which I hope it does. The Treasurer needs to have a seat at the table of the BOD, not just invited here and there.) the way the Treasurer/CFO is named does not change. And even if it did, Pres. Harrison’s hands are tied. The election of the Treasurer was removed from the agenda at the convention, thus none was elected.

    There is a lot that is disturbing about the new structure, the new structure was not the desire of our new leadership. President Harrison and his team need our prayers as they try to make sense of it all.

  5. Carl Vehse
    November 26th, 2010 at 14:05 | #5

    Resolution 8-39 only changed the Vice-President–Finance—Treasurer position from an elected position to an appointed position.

    It was Resolution 8-10 that would change the constitutional name of the position. That will require at least 2/3 approval by the congregations. If the resolution fails, the constitutional title remains Vice-President–Finance—Treasurer and there is a conflict between the Synod Constitution and the altered Bylaws.

    Res. 8-39 should have had verbage tying it to Res. 8-10, so that if 8-10 did not pass the 2/3 congregation vote, the conflicting title would revert to the old constitutional title of “Vice President- Finance-Treasurer.” It didn’t.

    Bylaw 7.1.1 (c) also states any proposed bylaws shall be examined by the Commission on Constitutional Matters prior to presentation to the convention to determine that they are not in conflict with the Constitution and Bylaws of the Synod.” Thus the CCM was to make sure such resolutions with potential conflict didn’t get to the convention floor. They didn’t.

    When Res. 8-39 was on the floor for discussion at the convention, the potential problem with the resolution should have been pointed out. It wasn’t.

    If the Constitutional resolution is not approved by congregations, then the BOD will have to turn to Bylaw 7.1.2, which states that in exceptional cases and at the “express direction of a convention of the Synod, amendments may be made [to a bylaw] by a two-thirds majority of the Board of Directors.” Since the BOD cannot by itself change the Constitution, the BOD will have to carry out (and spend more time and $$ on) Bylaw 7.1.2, which involves getting approval from the convention delegates to eliminate the bylaw contradiction. I don’t know whether this approval can be obtained remotely (e.g. VTC, email, letters, etc.) or whether another gathering of the delegates in one place is required.

    As it appears from the Reporter news article, the BOD has appointed Mr. Wulf to a position (Chief Financial Officer) which does not (yet) constitutionally exist.

  6. Carl Vehse
    November 26th, 2010 at 14:13 | #6

    BTW, Resolution 8-08 also refers to the substitution of the new title of Chief Financial Officer within the Bylaws.

  7. Conv. Delegate
    November 27th, 2010 at 08:30 | #7

    I agree, there was a lot that should have been pointed out on the convention floor and the FC 8 proposals had a lot of contradictory stuff, sometimes within the same resolution. Unfortantely on just about every structure resolution brought to the floor, there were several, if not dozens of delegates still on line at the mics and the question was called. And most of the time, the majority of those speakers were “cons.” It was beyond frustrating.

  8. Rev. MLKumm
    November 27th, 2010 at 09:24 | #8

    But, Conv. Delegate, I think you’ll agree that Committee 8 had very little idea how to respond to “implementation” questions. They present the “what’s” but had no idea on the “how’s”. That is what I found to be the ultimate in frustration.

    That being said, the Secretary of Synod will disagree that the CFO does not “exist”. I can assure you that no by-laws or constitutional aspects were violated in Mr. Wulf’s appointment. There is no one (save an interim) in the position; one was not elected at the convention; thus one needed to be appointed. Period. What’s the problem with that? Calling him CFO is appropriate due to the by-laws changed, which went into place immediately.

  9. Carl Vehse
    November 27th, 2010 at 09:34 | #9

    There needs to be a rule added to the standing orders of the convention that a delegate who makes a motion to call the question is identified for the record in the proceedings.

    Congregations should be able to identify repeated abuses of this tactic by the same person.

  10. Conv. Delegate
    November 27th, 2010 at 10:20 | #10

    Rev. Kumm — I more than shared your frustration. The lack of information regarding the new structure and how it was going to be implemented, was more than disturbing. It seemed to me there was a lot of “Just trust us.”

    I was at the pre-convention open hearing for FC 8 and Barb Below was asking about what would stay and what would go in the new structure. The response was “No one knows.”

    No one knows? Then what were we supposed to be voting for?

    No one knows, yet there was going to be immediate implementation?

    Whats done is done. President Harrison has a difficult task ahead of him as does Mr. Wulf. I don’t envy either of them.

  11. PPPadre
    November 27th, 2010 at 10:50 | #11

    @Carl Vehse #5

    @Carl Vehse #6

    8-39 Changed the position from elected to appointed.

    8-08 Would have changed all occurrences in the Bylaws of the title “Vice President Finance/Treasurer” to “Chief Financial Officer.” However, when 8-08A was presented to the floor, that resolved and the listing of the pertinent bylaws were stricken from the proposal, so there would be no Constitution/Bylaw conflict in that terminology until the Constitutional amendment passed.

    Carl Vehse :
    Since the BOD cannot by itself change the Constitution, the BOD will have to carry out (and spend more time and $$ on) Bylaw 7.1.2, which involves getting approval from the convention delegates to eliminate the bylaw contradiction. I don’t know whether this approval can be obtained remotely (e.g. VTC, email, letters, etc.) or whether another gathering of the delegates in one place is required.

    No additional time or money need be spent. No additional gathering of the delegates is required. No remote approval will need to be obtained. Because on Friday, July 16, at about noon, by a vote of 822-286, the delegates adopted Resolution 8-12A – “That the Synod in convention authorize and direct the LCMS Board of Directors, pursuant to the procedure provided in Bylaw 7.1.2, to amend such other bylaws as may be necessary to implement the spirit of the resolutions involved in the restructuring of the Synod as adopted by the 2010 convention….”

    (For the record, I was part of the 286, because as it is worded, there is no sunset provision. 30 years from now, if the Board of Directors sees a conflict between older bylaws that had not subsequently been amended and the 2010 restructuring proposals, they would still be authorized to bypass the the Convention and amend the bylaws on their own.)

  12. PPPadre
    November 27th, 2010 at 11:26 | #12

    Conv. Delegate :
    I agree, there was a lot that should have been pointed out on the convention floor and the FC 8 proposals had a lot of contradictory stuff, sometimes within the same resolution. Unfortantely on just about every structure resolution brought to the floor, there were several, if not dozens of delegates still on line at the mics and the question was called. And most of the time, the majority of those speakers were “cons.” It was beyond frustrating.

    I second that! What was particularly frustrating was when inaccurate or misleading information came forth from the floor committee. Because of Standing Rule #24, which removed privileged motion status from the Point of Information, someone already in the queue would have to give up their “pro-con” time to raise the Point of Information because there was no hope of reaching the microphone to respond to any points made during the debate if you weren’t already in the queue to begin with.

    I can understand how the Point of Information motion could be abused, especially in an assembly as large and unpracticed and undisciplined in parliamentary procedure as the Synodical Convention, so I understand why the rule came into being. But some mechanism needs to be in place to correct when the floor committee makes a patently false and misleading conclusion (e.g. in the discussion of 8-16A, when a delegate specifically expressed concern over the imbalance of laity and clergy on the BOD, the committee replied “The original bylaws of the Synod specifically put an imbalance of clergy and laity on the Board of Directors when it was first formed.”), especially by citing certain true but cherry-picked facts (“Aside from the President and Secretary of Synod, the Board of Directors was comprised of one ordained pastor and three laymen elected by the convention.”) but omitting other pertinent facts that are inconvenient your conclusion (“The SP and Sec’y are ordained, so the makeup of the original Board of Directors was actually a balanced 3 ordained pastors and 3 laymen.”).

    Good decisions can only be made if they are based on good and accurate information. The original intent of parliamentary procedure was to make sure that those making decisions received the information necessary to draw informed conclusions. That is why the point of information was given its privileged status and should be retained as such.

  13. Rev. Michael Schmidt
    November 27th, 2010 at 11:46 | #13

    If I could just get a point of clarification, the previous Bd of Directors nominated Paul Pettit for the Treasurer/CFO position; the convention then eliminated the election for VP-Treasurer, so the convention never did elect anyone, and so my assumption was that the job was going to Paul Pettit, since he was the only one nominated by the Bd. Is the election Jerald Wolf because Pettit withdrew or because the current Bd. of Directors over-ruled the previous Bd. of Directors? Or perhaps with the elimination of the election, did everything go back to square 1?

  14. Carl Vehse
    November 27th, 2010 at 13:08 | #14

    PPPadre:

    8-08A was presented to the floor, that resolved and the listing of the pertinent bylaws were stricken from the proposal, so there would be no Constitution/Bylaw conflict in that terminology until the Constitutional amendment passed.

    Yes, the Convention Proceedings (p. 163-164) states that
    the particular Resolved changing the title “Vice-President–Finance—Treasurer” to “Chief Financial Officer,”and the associated revised Bylaws 3.4.1–3.4.1.4 were removed from those approved and listed in the table on p. 162.

    No, there still is a Constitution/Bylaw conflict in that terminology until the Constitutional amendment passed.

    Res. 8-08A still refers to the “Chief Financial Officer” and a specific responsibility involving the CFO in the third Resolved (p. 162) as passed by the Convention. Furthermore in approving 8-08A [Yes: 613; No: 568] delegates also approved revised Bylaws 3.4.3.4, 3.5.1.1, 3.5.2.1, and 3.6.6.3, all of which specify particular responsibilities to the “Chief Financial Officer.”

    Thus, there is still a constitutitional position of Vice-President-Finance-Treasurer and unchanged (though renumbered) Bylaws on the responsibilities of the Vice-President-Finance-Treasurer. However there is no constitutional position of “Chief Financial Officer.” If Res. 8-10 is approved in 2011 by congregations, there will then be a constitutional position of Chief Financial Officer, but no description of CFO responsibilities (except for those mentioned in Bylaws 3.4.3.4, 3.5.1.1, 3.5.2.1, and 3.6.6.3). If Res. 8-10 is not approved by congregations, the Bylaws referring to the CFO will need to be corrected, along with the title and job description given to Mr. Wulf. Either way the BOD will be required to change the affected bylaws using the authority given in Res. 8-12A:

    PPPadre:

    …on Friday, July 16, at about noon, by a vote of 822-286, the delegates adopted Resolution 8-12A – “That the Synod in convention authorize and direct the LCMS Board of Directors, pursuant to the procedure provided in Bylaw 7.1.2, to amend such other bylaws as may be necessary to implement the spirit of the resolutions involved in the restructuring of the Synod as adopted by the 2010 convention….”

    Yes this will eliminate the need to reconvene delegates to give approval for the BOD to fix the BRTFSSG and floor committee screw-ups delegates voted for.

    And yes, PPPadre, 822 non-thinking delegates opened the door to all kinds of potential mischief in giving the BOD a blank check resolution to change bylaws based on whatever restructuring-implementing spirit that comes over them, even though, as 8-12A also notes, the changes are to be “reviewed by the Commission on Constitutional Matter.” (That’s little comfort, given, based on Bylaw 7.1.1 (c), the CCM should never have let such a restructuring mess come to the convention floor in the first place!)

    There should be overtures submitted to every District convention and to the Synodical convention to put a sunset restriction on Res. 8-12A at the next Synodical convention… assuming the bylaws for a synodical convention in 2013 are still there.

  15. Jason
    November 27th, 2010 at 17:49 | #15

    Can you imagine how much worse things could have been if Kieshnick had been elected? At least Harrison didn’t care for the restructuring, and he seems very pastoral. I am hoping that he takes great care in figuring this out, and he has poeple elected that are likely more in line with his thoughts (per United List). I pray the Pres. Harrison leads well and wise, and that with some of the boards he works with, smart heads can help lead us to fix things at the next convetion. Let us all work within our districts to help set this up, too, through elections and motions.

  16. Conv. Delegate
    November 27th, 2010 at 23:14 | #16

    Well said Jason.

  17. GaiusKurios
    November 28th, 2010 at 09:37 | #17

    Larry @ #3
    That was exactly my reaction. I see little business experience. It seems from the article that he has spent his entire professional career in government audit. Not what I would call the best training. While dealing with fund accounting on the government level that is different than dealing with fund accounting in the church. I would have liked to see on his resume that he had been a controller, vice president of finance, CFO of a business or non-profit.

    I have to give kudos to Kutcha. He did a great job and am sad to see him go. I only hope that Wulf will do the job as well as Kutcha.

  18. Carl Vehse
    November 28th, 2010 at 21:18 | #18

    As previously stated, before Res. 8-08A was passed, one of its particular Resolved changing the title “Vice-President–Finance—Treasurer” to “Chief Financial Officer” was removed and the indicated reference to associated revised Bylaws 3.4.1–3.4.1.4 was also removed.

    However, Res. 8-39, in the Convention Proceedings (p. 170), contains the following:

    Resolved, That Bylaws 3.4.1–3.4.1.4 be amended accordingly, as shown (“2007 Handbook Convention Version,” TB, pp 245–246 )

    Res 8-39 was adopted without amendment [Yes: 576; No: 534; a shift of 22 votes would have defeated this resolution]. Thus the revised Bylaws 3.4.1-3.4.1.4 are now official.

    Furthermore, according to Res. 8-39, the BOD was authorized to appoint the Vice-President-Finance-Treasurer, NOT the “Chief Financial Officer”! Res. 8-39 does not even mention “Chief Financial Officer” anywhere in the text. However, the revised Bylaw 3.4.1.1 approved by Res. 8-39 states the “Chief Financial Officer” shall be appointed by the BOD.

    Now it may seem like there are two positions, one specified in the (current) Constitution and the other in the Bylaws, and the BOD has decided to appoint Mr. Wulf to the latter and leave the former unfilled. But recall Res. 8-10 which states, “Whereas, The Vice-President–Finance—Treasurer will be appointed by the Board of Directors and given the title Chief Financial Officer…” Thus the convention in a spirit of implementing restructuring considered it to be the same position transitioning to a new title and some revised bylaw responsibilities, along with a proposed change in the position’s category in the Constitution, Article X. In any case, the BOD appointment to the CFO position was done, according to Res. 8-39, “after consultation with and with the concurrence of the President of the Synod.”

    If Res. 8-10 is not passed by the congregations , then Article X and Article XI in the Constitution remain in force, and the BOD will have to figure out what Bylaw changes and appointments need to be made.

    In the meantime, the outside consultants paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by the BRTGSSG during its task force planning for restructuring are probably ROTFL.

  19. Carl Vehse
    November 29th, 2010 at 07:33 | #19

    In #2 I indicated that Rev. Winter pointed out on his blog that there is not currently a constitutional position of Chief Financial Officer in the Missouri Synod. My statement was not correct. Rev. Winter’s point actually was that the BOD has not filled the (for now) constitutionally required office of Vice-President-Finance-Treasurer.

  20. Kim Schave
    November 30th, 2010 at 11:41 | #20

    @GaiusKurios #17
    On what basis would you state that serving as Director of External Audits for a governmental entity would not provide the best training? And further, how would his experience within the church and also his nearly 20 years of service at the District level as Treasurer not qualify him? Church fund accounting is very much like governmental fund accounting in my experience. I’m assuming you have experience in both/either types to make such a statement.

    A state auditor’s work also encompasses schools and state universities.
    http://legislativeaudit.sd.gov/Services%20we%20provide/services_we_provide_all.htm

    So far, by my count, he has experience relating to the local congregation, the district, church auxilliary organizations, Lutheran schools, public schools and public universities. He has more experience relating to how our Synod operates than anyone coming from the business realm would.

    How about we commit to praying for him rather than criticizing his qualifications? The Board and President of the Synod apparently felt differently about his background; let’s put some trust in the judgment of our new leadership. I, for one, would be happy to see the LCMS move away from trying to act and run more like a business and be the church body it was orginally organized to be.

  21. GaiusKurios
    November 30th, 2010 at 18:00 | #21

    Kim,
    Working as an auditor is different than working as say a CFO or comptroller. Government audit and accounting is significantly different than other non-profit/fund accounting. In answer to your question, yes I have had audit experince both in and out of governmnet. I have also worked at a non governmental non-profit as well as private industry. I too have held many positions in the church, financial and non-financial. He was hired to be the new CFO of Synod, yet from what I read he has never been a CFO previously. There is a big difference in being a CFO and being the director of external audits in the department of Legislative Audits. The one thing that will be most beneficial is that he has served as treasurer for the SD District. My point is that I believe there has to be a number of more qualifited individuals in the LCMS.

  22. Kim Schave
    November 30th, 2010 at 19:06 | #22

    @GaiusKurios #21

    I respectfully disagree. Perhaps his experience in audit is just what God has in mind to whip things into shape (financially speaking) in our beloved Synod. I would like nothing more than to see full disclosure of financial statements and reports that are made available publicly on the synod’s web site. I am glad for the resolution that was passed at convention to promote the broader communication of financial information.(http://www.lcms.org/includes/convention/resolutions/todbiz.pdf#348)

    I’m also quite sure Dr. Kuchta will make his expertise available throughout the transition and beyond.

    Apparently the previous administration did not agree with your assessment that there are plenty of qualified individuals to fill this position or they would have saw fit to allow it to remain an elected position. That would have been my preference, regardless. I do agree that there are likely a sufficient number of candidates within the LCMS qualified for this position, and I’m assuming those interested in being considered were nominated as the process requires. Of those nominated, the Board chose the most qualified.

  23. Conv. Delegate
    November 30th, 2010 at 22:06 | #23

    GaiusKurios and Kim,

    I do wonder if there are as many candidates out there as we’d like. We’d all like the individual to have significant experience both in industry and in the church. Industry most likely pays significantly more than the church. The position requires relocation to St. Louis and is only for a three-year term. Those factors in many cases could mean a significant sacrifice for both the individual and their family.

    Mr. Wulf has solid experience. I am sure the BOD and President did their due diligence. We need to pray for him and those in leadership. They have a challenging task ahead of them.

  24. GaiusKurios
    December 1st, 2010 at 12:23 | #24

    Kim,
    We will have to agree to disagree. I know from my experience that what I have learned in government audit is a whole lot less important in being a CFO than what I have learned as being Director of Finance & Accounting. I also do not think that the previous administration did not agree with my assessment that there are plenty of qualified individuals. I think the previous administration was more concerened with being able to select the person they wanted as opposed to convention electing a CFO. I do agree that it would be it should have been an elected position. Candidates would have to be vetted and the delegates could get a good idea of each ones qualifications
    Conv. Delegate,
    You makes some good points abut the limited term and relocation.

  25. Kim Schave
    December 1st, 2010 at 15:00 | #25

    Beyond the BOD and the President, I trust that God chose the right man for the job. Let’s commit to praying for him as he begins his work within His church.

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