Chris Liebrum on separation agreements


Chris Liebrum, as the BGCT’s previous HR director, provides the following information about employee separation agreements in order to give it historical context and to provide understanding as to its purposes:

“I was director of human resources at the BGCT from 1999 to 2005. I am not exactly sure when we began using these agreements, but they were already in place when I started my HR work with BGCT in 1999. The practice was in place before Charles Wade began his work as executive director.

“A person may leave a company, business or a church for a number of reasons. The employee may choose to leave, the employer could terminate the employee or the person could leave because of retirement. When an employee leaves, especially when they are terminated (fired) by the employer, there are generally circumstances that caused the termination. Many times these circumstances not only involve the terminated employee, but might involve current employees, family of employee, and the list goes on and on. Disclosure of the reason could be hurtful and embarrassing to innocent parties. It just seems that it is not only Christian, but good business practice to have everyone agree to not discuss the details or circumstances related to the leaving. Because HR law is built on the fundamental principle that you must treat everyone equally, these agreements are equally applied. Most employees choose to accept the agreement, but a few refuse.

“The purpose for the agreement is not to muzzle anyone or to be seen as hush money. The severance money is given to help people transition to their next job. I might add that criminal behavior is not protected by these agreements. If there were circumstances related to either the employee or the employer that violated local state or federal law, there would be no binding on either party to not disclose information.

“The idea of these agreements was never initiated from the BGCT executive director or HR staff. Because of the HR liability that any organization might have legal counsel has recommended this practice. Although they may not be common in small businesses or even some churches, I think you will discover that this is a common practice both in businesses and non- profit organizations. During my time as HR director I had several churches call requesting information about these agreements.

“It has been my observation through the years that our convention has tried to be fair and consistent in dealing with employees who leave our work force for any reason. Of course, when someone is fired or their job is eliminated it is going to be difficult for them to have much patience with their former employer no matter what agreement or severance is offered. There is probably no amount of severance that is going to make them feel OK. No matter how much severance you provided some will be absolutely convinced that it is not enough while others not involved will criticize you for giving away too much money. Although there have been exceptions, the one thing you can know is that our folks have tried to be consistent.”


14 Responses to “Chris Liebrum on separation agreements”

  1. spiritualsamurai Says:


    Thank you for your explaination. It would be wrong to attribute something to Charles that he was not involved in. I believe if the BGCT is a business and is interested in protection of its interests then non-disclosure documents are valid. However, since the BGCT is not a business and “protecting privacy” is seem more as a cover up right now than being “Christian”, would it not be better to suspend the practice at this time?

    Yes ValleyGate was embarrassing, but E.B. is hiding behind the non disclosure statement (accord to Roberto Rodriquez and I don’t think he would lie about this one). In a time of restoring trust, would it not be better to allow folks to tell their story (even if it may be painful to the paid upper leadership)?

    Again, thank you for your comments.

  2. spiritualsamurai Says:

    Sorry Chris,

    I failed to mention that several of the folks who have recently been laid off (at least that is who they say they are) have sent me letters and other information I cannot use yet because they beleive that they will lose their severance package. They do feel they were coerced into signing the agreement (kind of like being forced to sign the BF&M).

  3. Muzzled former BGC employee Says:

    Well, as usual Chris Liebrum comes in to try and make something that has been done wrong and unlawful in the past years (while he was HR director) seem like a good business and Christian thing to do.

    I was “forced” to sign a separation agreement with he BGCT. Of course I was told that if I didn’t the separation agreement I would not get severance or insurance during the severance pay period.

    I am here to tell you from personal experience that there is no confidentiality fromt he BGCT. The HR department not only gave negative references but publicly humiliated me among other BGCT staff by speaking about myself and my tenur witht he BGCt. It seems very interesting that we are “threatened” too adhere to a separation agreement in order to receive “transition” money, but the BGCT is exempt from adhering to this agreement and feels they have the right to ruin peoples name and reputation, of course all this is done out of good Christian character.

    [Last paragraph removed by Ferrell because it contained a personal attack.]

  4. Muzzled former BGCT employee Says:

    Seems like the BGCT is in to censuring “muzzling” things that might portray the real character of BGCT personell. How dare Ferrell to decide what is and is not fair speech.

  5. spiritualsamurai Says:

    Thank you whoever you are!

    Thank you for your courage!

    If you would like to fill in the rest of the comment on Spiritual Samurai you may do so. Your quotes are posted there and it is an open forum as well.

  6. Lee Says:

    Likewise, your comments will not be “muzzled” at Deep in the Heart.

  7. BGCT Separation Agreements and Former Employees « Deep in the Heart… Says:

    […] […]

  8. rick davis Says:

    Chris and Ferrell,

    Welcome to the blogging world. Ain’t it great?

  9. Ferrell Says:

    I really do love it, Rick, even if some don’t like what I do. It makes possible a whole new level of communication and involvement. And even though I removed one paragraph of the comment above, it should be noted by everyone that the official blog of the BGCT allowed a very negative opinion to be expressed. That, I think, says something very good about the BGCT.

  10. Lee Says:

    The openness is noted, though this blog is on a very small scale compared to other things in the BGCT that are not as open. I’ll save my applause for after the work of the E.D. search committee is completed, and a choice has been made that does not come from within the tight, elite little network that currently runs the convention. Then I will not only applaud the openess of the BGCT, but may well give it a standing ovation.

    Perhaps because it is Christmas season, I am still disturbed over the way these 32 BGCT employees were let go, the vague and sometimes contradictory statements made about the reasons why, the budget cuts that had no effect on the executive administration, but which gutted the missions division, and the lack of an understandable, clear, concise explanation of all of it at the convention. We still need some openess there, I think.

  11. spiritualsamurai Says:

    Amen Ferrell,

    It is a small, but positive step and again, this blogger believes with all his heart that you are the owner of this blog and you decide what is and is not posted.

  12. Muzzled former BGCT employee Says:

    Let me tell you a little more about these fair separation agreements and the law abiding BGCT. The only reason I did not press charges against the convention when my separation agreement was violated by the BGCT it was because it would hurt the work of the Kingdom….I could care less for the reputation of the current leadership.

    After signing the separation agreement I wasn’t shown any mercy, as a matter of fact, once the Convention decides to cut you off, you are shunned by everyone there. What a painful feeling to go from being a part of a family to feeling like the leper. It has taken a long time for the hurt to go away.

    During this holiday season my heart goes out to the people that have been put in this situation. This type of treatment takes a long time to overcome. I don’t speak out of spite or hate but speak out of conviction for the truth…..a truth that has been in the dark for a long time. The truth shall set you free and I think its time that current leadership is held accountable. Too many things have been hidden under the table, if Texas Baptists knew what has really goes on they might not be so quick to support.

  13. Tim Dahl Says:

    It seems there are some sins that our convention will never repent of. I’m afraid that the unfair treatment of employees (past and present) are just some of them.

    It makes horribly sad. As far as I know, David Montoya is still taking up donations for the most recent layoffs of the building.

    Tim Dahl

  14. spiritualsamurai Says:

    I’m am sorry Tim, but I must correct. Calvary Baptist Church has set up a bank account that people can give to if they so desire. I never touch the money, just have the person who has oversight send a cashier’s check to the those who we hope we can help. Right now the money that has been given has been dispersed.

    It was not very much, but it is hoped that someone was helped by Texas Baptists (SBT and BGCT) who gave the money. Bless them and may the Lord give them fruitful future ministries.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: