New director takes helm of conference human resources

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

New director takes helm of conference human resources

Feb. 17, 2006    News media contact: Tita Parham* 
800-282-8011    Orlando {0442}

An e-Review Feature
By J.A. Buchholz**

LAKELAND — Wendy McCoy began working as the Florida Conference's new director of human resources Jan. 3. Photo by Caryl Kelley, Photo #06-310.

LAKELAND — The Florida Conference has a new director of human resources and benefits.

Wendy McCoy assumed the position Jan. 3 and will act as the conference benefits and health insurance liaison for clergy and laity.

"We administer benefits for anyone who is benefits-eligible through the conference program, and we communicate with the General Board of Pensions and Health Benefits (GBPHB) on matters they are responsible for, like the pension and life insurance plan," McCoy said. "This office works to administer the health insurance since ... we're no longer part of the General Board."

McCoy came to the conference position after working for 10 years at Tampa Electric Company (TECO) where she managed group health and voluntary benefits for 5,000 active employees and 2,500 retirees. She spent almost 20 years working with insurance and health-care benefits for hospitals and insurance carriers before her stint at TECO.

Versed in the nuances of health insurance, McCoy feels she is ready for the operational challenges of her new position.

"I think, in the short term, it (the challenge) is establishing processes for administering our own health benefits. This is something that is new for this conference," she said. "We have relied on GBPHB in the past. We don't have a lot of the systems and processes in place that organizations which have been doing for this for a long while have."

McCoy said clergy and laity are still unsure about some of the basics - what forms to complete, whether they need a form at all, do they go online for information, who do they call when they have a problem.

She said there are other, weightier issues approaching the conference, as well.

"The larger concern is the increase in cost of health-care benefits for the conference, for the portion we pay, for the churches, for the people who contribute to the cost of their health care," she said.

Providing a quality benefits plan that meets the needs for health-care services, but remains affordable for both the conference and for participants is challenging, McCoy added.

"That's a very delicate balance, and we're certainly not alone in trying to do that. A lot of large corporations are struggling with that, as well as small businesses, governments," she said. "Everybody is trying to figure that out."

If it sounds like McCoy has hit the ground running in her new position it's because she is excited about embracing the Florida Conference family.

"I've worked in large corporations my entire life. I just really wasn't satisfied with that anymore," she said. "I think corporations have really narrowed their scope to ... how are they going to fare in the next report to Wall Street or (to) the stockholder. They give a lot of lip service about how important their employees are and how much they value them; yet, when it comes to making critical decisions it's not how people act. I grew tired of that. I wanted to do work in a nonprofit, but I didn't have a sense of what I wanted to do. Then, I saw the advertisement for this job."

Unaware the church has such a broad spectrum of positions, McCoy was thrilled at the opportunity to return to her roots. "I grew up in the United Methodist church. I went to a private, two-year United Methodist college called Andrew College in Cuthbert, Ga. It was a wonderful experience," she said.

Beyond her upbringing and the fact she is a graduate of the University of Florida, is married and has four cats and one dog, McCoy wants everyone to know one thing about her.

"I can be very helpful, a good resource," said the New Tampa resident. "If people don't understand the way something works or have a question about why we do what we do — if I don't have the answer I will find out."

The Rev. David Dodge, executive director of the Florida Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, was heavily involved in the administrative duties related to the conference's health insurance program and often directly handled day-to-day health insurance queries from clergy. With McCoy on board he is turning those responsibilities over to her and focusing his energies on advancing the clergy culture within the conference — developing programming to help clergy grow in their own discipleship, promoting the professional development of clergy and providing overall support to clergy throughout all aspects of their faith journey.

Dodge has helped the conference reorganize its structure and tackle health insurance expenses and related issues. He has also played an instrumental role in the adoption of recommendations brought before the annual conference each year by the Florida Conference Board of Pension and Health Benefits.

Dodge received the Calkins Award in 2003 from the GBPHB board of directors for his work and dedication as administrator of pension and health benefits within the church.


This article relates to Conference Health Insurance and Benefits.

*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Buchholz is a staff writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.

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