Councillor for Membership/Convener of the Regional Councillors
David K. Lamb, CAGO, DMus (1)
What is Professional Development and Support in the post-grievance era?
Professional Development and Support, sometimes called Professional Concerns, used to refer almost exclusively at the regional and chapter levels to investigations into unfair discipline and termination by employing religious institutions, with the AGO Grievance Procedure prohibiting Guild members from accepting employment at churches found to have treated members unfairly. In 2013, faced with members’ concerns about the Grievance Procedure, the National Council voted to discontinue its use. In 2014 the US Federal Trade Commission declared its disapproval of associations such as ours placing restrictions on those seeking employment. In effect, the Procedure’s ban on AGO members seeking employment at offending institutions is now illegal and could bring heavy penalties on the Guild if continued. As a result, the emphasis of Guild support for aggrieved members has had to shift to a more proactive campaign to teach local chapters and members the skills needed to maintain a healthy workplace environment.
There is a definite and positive role in this post-grievance era for regional and local Professional Development officials to provide support and skills to chapter members. It has long been suggested that local chapters plan annual activities which assist members in the employment aspect of their professional lives, including skills in seeking employment, contract and salary negotiation, conflict resolution, copyright law issues and performance evaluation. The national Committee on Professional Development and Support has posted on agohq.org (“Careers”) a list of suggested program topics devoted to these areas of our professional lives. The Committee plans to encourage communication and the sharing of ideas among regional and local PD officials, and eventually to provide a system for training local and regional officials in the skills needed for clergy-musician conflict resolution. Your suggestions and ideas are most welcome; you may contact the Committee on Professional Development and Support through Director David Rhody at email@example.com.