Mo. convention staffer fired for misconduct

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (BP)--A former controller for the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) was terminated April 15 for her involvement in the unauthorized tampering with the executive director's computer and e-mail files.

Carol Kaylor was dismissed because of her role in the incident, which took place Feb. 19 while MBC Executive Director David Clippard was away from his office. She was given the termination date of April 15 so that she could seek other employment.

Michael Whitehead, a Kansas City attorney representing the MBC, said the executive board does not usually discuss personnel actions in public but thought it necessary to do so after Kaylor told the Word & Way newspaper that she intends to file a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the Missouri convention.

"We did not seek to make this matter public," Whitehead said. "However, where the former employee chooses to make public charges about her termination, it is only fair that we provide some additional facts in response."

Kaylor was immediately confronted in February about her involvement in the incident. MBC President Monte Shinkle appointed a committee to investigate the facts surrounding the misconduct and considered other matters raised by Kaylor. The committee concluded on April 10 that the termination was justified due to the misconduct.

"Our basic contention is that she was forced out of her position because she opposed practices that were demeaning to her and to other employees of the Missouri Baptist Convention as women," Kaylor's attorney Michael Berry was quoted as saying in the June 19 Word & Way article.

Kaylor did not provide details relating to her allegations. She said she decided to file her EEOC complaint because of treatment she received since the convention hired Clippard in August.

"In my 18-plus years in the accounting profession, I've never experienced the kind of treatment I have experienced since August," Kaylor told Word & Way. "I've experienced the kind of treatment I never expected to have anywhere, especially not when I worked in a Christian organization."

An attorney for the EEOC's district office in St. Louis, which has jurisdiction over Cole County, would neither confirm nor deny that a complaint had been filed. However, Word & Way reported that an EEOC worker conducted a telephone interview with Kaylor on June 10.

"We regret that Mrs. Kaylor feels that any anything said or done by Dr. Clippard was demeaning to her," Shinkle said. "Our investigation has convinced us that Dr. Clippard did not mistreat or demean anyone. A ministry organization has the right to expect undivided loyalty and candor from its management team. We have complete confidence in Dr. Clippard and we are confident that this employment decision will be upheld as lawful."

Since MBC attorneys have not been served with an EEOC complaint, they cannot comment. "We will be glad to respond once she has filed her charge and it is revealed to us by the EEOC," Whitehead said.

The Word & Way story on Kaylor also stated that she had been banned from the Baptist Building. However, Whitehead said the term "banned" is misleading.

"Any employee terminated under these circumstances would reasonably expect to be asked to restrict visits to the building for business purposes and to make appointments," Whitehead said. "Mrs. Kaylor has been in the building on several occasions since her termination."

Clippard was in transit to Iraq on a humanitarian trip when the Word & Way began to call his office for an interview. Other officers and legal counsel were traveling to and from the Southern Baptist Convention in Phoenix during the week when the Word & Way story was released. The story also appeared on an Internet site operated by Bart Tichenor, a Missouri attorney and a pro-Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) activist and leader in the new Baptist General Convention of Missouri (BGCM).

Kaylor originally was hired by former MBC Executive Director Jim Hill, who resigned in October 2001.

Hinkle is editor of The Pathway, newsjournal of the Missouri Baptist Convention.

Download Story