Board of Equitable Compensation recommendation carries after much debate
On Friday, June 2, in the afternoon plenary, the Rev. Rich Weihing Jr., and Teddi Urriola presented the Equitable Compensation Report. Teddy shared a story of a little boy named Ernesto. Ernesto struggled to see words on the blackboards. He saw a sea of green from trees and grass. When his family finally bought him glasses, he was amazed at how he could see. Teddy said, we all need Jesus glasses; “We all need Jesus glasses so we can see the way God see the social inequities of our clergy.”
Teddi and Rich placed big, silly plastic glasses on and also presented pairs of these glasses to Bishop Héctor A. Burgos Núñez; Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi; Conference Secretary, Rev. Carolyn Stow; and Conference Lay Leader, Jessica White. Teddy and Rev. Weihing Jr. referred to these as Jesus glasses.
Teddi spoke of the Minimum Base Salary that our full-time clergy in full connection currently earn. She said, “Would it surprise you to know that the minimum compensation in Upper New York is the fourth-lowest in the country? Would it surprise you to know that we have elders in full connection who are making $19 an hour? Would it surprise you to know that we have licensed local pastors making just over $17 an hour—this is based on 40 hours a week.”
Teddi paused and added, “And how many clergy actually work only 40 hours a week?”
Many attendees laughed, knowing that clergy tend to work way more than 40 hours a week.
With these realities in mind, the Board of Equitable Compensation presented a recommendation to increase the minimum base compensation by 3.5 percent. You can see how the salaries would increase on page 22 in the Pre-Conference Workbook.
Many came to the floor, speaking against the recommendation, claiming that the raise is not enough, especially considering inflation. Some spoke for the recommendation, claiming that “something is better than nothing.”
In the end, this recommendation was approved, with an editorial change that this increase in compensation is not for the 2023-2024 appointment year, rather, it begins January 1, 2024.
Additionally, the Rev. Abigail Browka withdrew her petition (UNYAC2023.7 - Toward Equitable Compensation), which requested that beginning in the 2024-2025 appointment year, and for future years, the Minimum Compensation be established by the Upper New York Commission on Equitable Compensation by calculating the certain percentages of the most recently available Denominational Average Compensation (DAC).
Rev. Browka, Rev. Weihing Jr., and Teddi have been in conversation about equitable compensation over the past few months and will consider a recommendation for the 2024 Upper New York Annual Conference.
Marthalyn Sweet presented a motion for next year’s Equitable Compensation Report to include the percentage of clergy at Minimum Base Salary and a percentage breakdown based on race, gender, and age/ This motion passed.
The Clergy Housing Policy and the Accountable Reimbursement Plan did not change.