After careful consideration of this proposal it was quite clear that it was not a legitimate offer of good faith negotiation and never was intended to be. Thus, the proposal has been unanimously rejected by all parties to the litigation for the Diocese of South Carolina.
1. First, if it had been legitimate, it would have come from someone with authority to bind all the parties on the Episcopal Church side. The Presiding Bishop, though referenced in the letter, does not have that authority for TEC. It would – at minimum – require an action by TEC’s Executive Council, if not General Convention. Tisdale’s letter doesn’t even have the signature of legal counsel for TEC. Counsel for TEC was contacted to request that they provide the necessary proof of authority, along with THEIR signature on this offer. There has been no response.
2. Equally important, a valid proposal should have come to the Diocese’s lead counsel for this litigation, not to a parish representative. After nearly two weeks from the time of the original “offer” that contact has still not been made. A good faith offer has still not been properly presented .
3. Along these same lines, it should have been done entirely in confidence, and not presented as a kind of mass public statement. On Friday (6/12) it was publicly announced by a TECinSC blogger that Bishop vonRosenberg had sent a written notice to all his parishes, informing them this offer had been made. Both communications represent a serious breach of confidentiality. Today’s announcement from them further emphasizes this dynamic. If some kind (any kind) of good faith negotiation is what they were really interestd in, this certainly was not the way to conduct it.
Particularly to the point, the letters from Mr. Tisdale should not have been presented in the midst of the appellate briefs being filed. It must be noted that the expiration date of this offer was the same day our reply brief was due to be filed with the State Supreme Court. That is obviously no accident.