After a more than five-hour meeting today (Sept. 28) — two of those hours in executive session — members of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention voted down the proposal to waive attorney-client privilege 39 to 35.
However, they did decide to give the officers seven more days in which to conclude their negotiations with the Sexual Abuse Task Force and Guidepost Solutions, if possible following a specific model presented to the officers yesterday.
The motion for more time to negotiate passed 77% to 23%. An amendment proposed by SBC President Ed Litton to shorten the time to 48 hours was defeated, and Task Force chair Bruce Frank said he is open to more negotiations but not seven days. He is willing to talk through end of day Friday and reminded the Executive Committee that he doesn’t need their permission to move forward.
The Task Force’s assignment is from the messengers, he noted.
Monte Shinkle, secretary of the Executive Committee, mentioned that the recent negotiations came “very, very close yesterday. If we go with the Michigan model (an investigation model proposed by the Task Force if waiving attorney-client privilege is not an option), we are going to come down to the bottom line and that is who hires this overseeing attorney.”
The Task Force is not OK with the Executive Committee hiring the investigating attorneys because it would give them oversight, but the EC attorneys are advising for the EC to be the one that signs the contract.
“This still can be a very good report with the Michigan model as long as the EC is not the one contracting those folks,” Frank explained.
Today’s meeting was a follow up to the group’s regularly scheduled meeting last week (Sept. 20–21) in Nashville. The group struggled last week to make a definite call with some members adamantly for waiving privilege, some adamantly against it and several needing more information, so they agreed on a compromise motion that allowed for seven additional days of deliberation. The Sept. 21 motion also called for the independent third-party review to begin right away with an allocation of up to $1.6 million for the work to be done by Guidepost Solutions.
Today’s deadline was intended for the officers to bring a final agreement between Guidepost, the Sexual Abuse Task Force, Executive Committee officers and the attorneys.
To read more, click here.
To read responses and updates coming out of the Sept. 28 meeting in an article posted Sept. 29 at 10:45 a.m., click here.