President Harrison’s letter to President Meyer.
Email from President Dale Meyer:
Last Tuesday President Harrison e-mailed a letter to our Board of Regents. This afternoon he asked that I share it with faculty, staff and students, which I am herewith doing. The letter is attached.
Dale A. Meyer
Tuesday of Holy Week, A.D. 2011
Dear Regents of Concordia Seminary,
Grace and peace.
Earlier today (4/18), I phoned Dale Meyer to apologize for the consternation regarding the elimination of the student advisor on personal growth and leadership development position at Concordia Seminary. Per protocol, and following HR directive, I phoned Dale last Friday to inform him of this action. Dale was unavailable and so I spoke to Andy Bacon. In that conversation I apologized for having to take the action with respect to the funding of this position. As I explained to Andy, this action is driven simply by revenues. We are informed by the Synod’s treasurer and accountant that we face a nearly $5,000,000 reduction in undesignated funding this year. That’s a 25% reduction from the previous fiscal year. But the situation is more challenging than it appears. The Synod’s unrestricted dollars have to cover fixed costs (like insurance, legal, services, etc., etc., including over $2.6 million per year to service the historic CUS debt). That means a far greater reduction than 25% for those areas which are discretionary (i.e., personnel).
Funding decisions from prior years, which were well-intended but did not force reductions in expenditures, have caught up with us. We do not have $2.4 million from the sale of KFUO this year to balance the budget. We have received more than $1 million less in pledges from districts this year. And on top of all this, after a net elimination of nearly 40 positions, we still shall have not sufficiently reduced costs to operate at a balanced budget. Enough of the palinode.
Dale understands all this. Let me state that I take full responsibility for failing to give Dale the “heads up” on this position elimination. It was a failure of collegiality and Christian charity. And I have apologized personally to Dale for this error in judgment. Second, I will do what I can to see that the individual affected is treated as well as possible. Third, we will work with the seminary as best we can to find a way to cover the duties of a student advisor on personal growth and leadership development.
My staff has done a superb job in an enormously tumultuous time. I plead your patience with them, and especially with me.
Yours humbly in Christ,
Rev. Matthew Harrison, President
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod