US Episcopal Church demotes and terminates high-ranking officials

Bishop Michael Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, has fired two high-ranking leaders for not being able to comport themselves according to the standards of the church in dealing with other employees. Another executive has been demoted following an independent internal investigation.

(Reuters/Mike Theiler)The Reverend Michael Bruce Curry (C) acknowledges applause after delivering his sermon and his Installation ceremony, at the Washington National Cathedral, in Washington, November 1, 2015.

According to Fox News, deputy chief operating officer Sam McDonald, director of public engagement and mission communications Alex Baumgarten, and chief operating officer Bishop Stacy Sauls were reported to have violated the workplace policies of the church. All three were put on administrative leave last year, on Dec. 9.

After the investigation done by the Curley, Hessigner & Johnsrud LLP firm of New York and Philadelphia, Curry publicized that McDonald and Baumgarten were "immediately terminated" while Sauls was cleared of the complaints, and found to be unaware of McDonald and Baumgarten's "policy violations." He was however still removed from his post as chief operating officer.

"The investigation concluded that Bishop Stacy Sauls did not violate workplace policy, was unaware of the policy violations of the two staff members reporting to him, and operated within the scope of his office. No further investigation is warranted. Nevertheless, given the needs for staff leadership in light of my priorities for the direction of the Church, Bishop Sauls will not continue as Chief Operating Officer of the DFMS," Curry said, as quoted by the Christian Post.

Curry emphasized that he has ordered an independent human resources audit and procedural review of all workplace system and retention of a firm, Human Synergistics, to create a healthy workplace.

Curry considers this as his "first major challenge" as the presiding bishop. "I am likewise unswerving in my commitment to each of you that we will work together to have a workplace that reflects the love of God and the teachings of Jesus," said Curry in a press release from the Episcopal Church website.

In addition, Curry believes that they still have healing to do. Christian Post quoted him as saying, "We will work together to have a workplace that really does look something like the dream that God intends for us all and the whole world."