David Peele, chair of the Conference Council on Finance Administration, expressed appreciation for the 90.7% of the apportionments that were paid in 2016. He noted that the NC Conference was one of 27 that fully paid apportionments to the General Conference through the use of reserve funds. Annual Conference members approved the request for $21,908,352 for the 2018 annual conference budget. This budget represents a 1.86% decrease from the approved 2018 budget.
District Superintendents’ Salaries
The salary for district superintendents in 2018 was proposed to be $110,116, an increase of 1.89% over the current salary. This is a calculation made by averaging the salaries and unvouchered allowances of the top 25 churches in the conference. There was a motion to change the formula to include the top 50 churches. That number would be $98,916. A motion was made and approved to table the motion to change to the average of the top 50 salaries. A motion was made and accepted by the body that the salary be approved as presented for this year and the concern about how the district superintendent salary is calculated be sent back to CF&A for research and review.
The conference has a self-insured health plan administered by Blue Cross/Blue Shield. The health insurance plan approved for 2018, a 7% increase over 2017, is $1,158.53 a month for the church’s portion. Participant portions rose at the same percentage rate as the church rate. Proposed benefit changes were to include an increase of $5 in office visit copays, implementation of a mandatory mail order program for maintenance drugs, and a change to the NC Limited Pharmacy Network. The body voted to amend the original proposal and remove the mandatory mail order program. A motion to remove the change to the NC Limited Pharmacy Network did not pass.
Life insurance also saw a rate increase with approval of the continuation of the same benefit level as is currently in place. Dental and wellness programs were unchanged.
The report of the Board of Pension was presented by Dennis Goodwin, chair of the board. Under the Pre-82 Plan for retirement, clergy will receive $735 per service year in 2018, an increase of 2.5% over the 2017 rate. The billing rate for the current pension plan was approved to be reduced by 0.7% to 8.1% for the defined benefits portion of the Clergy Retirement Security Program. A recommendation to open the Comprehensive Protection Plan (a clergy death and disability benefits plan) was approved to be opened for mandatory enrollment to ¾-time clergy appointments in addition to full-time appointments.
Retiree health care is administered by a designated vendor to help retirees select Medicare secondary coverage from the open market. Each year an amount is set aside for each retiree in a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA), based on the number of years of credit received toward retirement health insurance benefits. In 2018, the maximum HRA for a pastor with 40 years or more in the plan will be funded at $3,246 (90% of the maximum tier of $3,607).
Dennis Goodwin noted the funding status of the pre-82 pension plan liability as currently funded in full and the retiree health insurance liability as on track to be funded by 2021 through the Conference Claimants budget and the Past Service Liability apportionment. Funding status is tied to market performance and actuarial assumptions so the funding status will be closely monitored in the future to continue to work toward full funding of both plans by 2021.
The minimum salary for full-time pastors for 2018 was approved to increase minimum salary by 2% to a salary of $44,686 for full-time pastors and $29,046 for student pastors.
Trustees and Clergy Medical Leave
The reports of the Conference Board of Trustees and Joint Committee on Clergy Medical Leave were approved as presented in the conference workbook with informational updates and no change to policies.